The Vuuzle Family Is Deeply Saddened By The Loss Of Our Friend And Brother, He Was A Joy To Work With At Vuuzle And Will Be Missed Dearly.
Sam started filming the “Sam Bam Cunningham Show” in September of last year alongside longtime friend Ron Scoggins, where they had the opportunity to interview talented athletes from all around hearing their stories and sharing them with the world!
Sam “Bam” Cunningham
Sam Cunningham, a legendary sports figure at Santa Barbara High who went on to star in football at USC and played nine years in the NFL with the New England Patriots, passed away Tuesday at his home in Inglewood.
Sam was the eldest of four brothers, including Anthony (AC), Bruce, and Randall. The sons of Samuel and Mabel Cunningham grew up on Santa Barbara’s Eastside.
Sam celebrated his 71st birthday on Aug. 15.
The new Italian-made all-weather track at the renovated Peabody Stadium is named after the Cunningham family.
Sam was unable to join his brothers at July’s stadium dedication ceremony and was represented by his daughter, Samahndi.
At the dedication, Santa Barbara Unified School District Board President Kate Ford recalled being lucky enough to be assigned a hall locker next to Sam Cunningham when they attended Santa Barbara High in the late 1960s.
On Sept. 12, 1970, Cunningham rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-21, season-opening victory over Alabama at Legion Field in Birmingham. A sophomore making his varsity debut, Cunningham was part of an all-Black backfield also featuring quarterback Jimmy Jones and halfback Clarence Davis against an all-white Crimson Tide team.
Cunningham and the Trojans are falsely credited with convincing Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to integrate his team. In fact, African-American halfback Wilbur Jackson had already signed with the Crimson Tide, but freshmen were ineligible under NCAA rules to play for the varsity at the time and Jackson was watching from the student section.
However, Cunningham’s performance no doubt convinced any holdouts among the administration and the fanbase that Alabama needed to embrace integration in order to succeed in football.
Sam Bam Cunningham was a letterman for the University of Southern California’s football team from 1970 through 1972. Where he played fullback. He was named an All-American in 1972 and was a member of USC’s 1972 national championship team.
In the 1973 Rose Bowl, he scored four touchdowns, which still stands as a modern-day Rose Bowl record.
He was named Rose Bowl Player of the Game. Inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
In only his second year 1974, he gained 811 yards and 9 touchdowns. As he led the New England Patriots to a surprising 4-0 start before faltering to a 7-7 finish. In 1977, he gained a career-high 1,015 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. And also caught 42 receptions for 370 yards and a touchdown.
He played his entire career (1973 through 1982) with the Patriots and was a 1978 Pro Bowl selection. Cunningham was an integral part of the 1978 Patriots. Who set an NFL record for rushing yards as a team with 3,165. It wasn’t until 2019 when the Baltimore Ravens broke the record that stood for more than 40 years.
R.I.P. Sam “Bam” Cunningham
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