Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny Passes Away

Saturday, 25 June 2022 12:38

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Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny Passes Away National Football Foundation

Hugh McElhenny, a 1981 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who played halfback at Washington from 1949-51, passed away June 17. He was 93 and the fourth oldest living College Football Hall of Famer.

"Hugh McElhenny blazed a path at Washington that placed among the best players in the nation in the late 40s and early 50s," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "Elusive and difficult to stop, he set numerous marks, earning First Team All-America status and later a place in the Hall of Fame. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of loss."

Nicknamed "The King," McElhenny had only one aim in life - the goal line! Like a thundering thoroughbred, the legendary Washington runner took to the open field with a blazing swiftness that often left opposing defenders in utter frustration. In his wake, McElhenny left a seemingly endless trail of school rushing and scoring records.

Enrolling at Washington after transferring from Compton (Calif.) Junior College, McElhenny notched his finest season in 1950, his junior year, when he established single-game marks for rushing (296 yards), touchdowns (5) and total points (30) as the Huskies lashed Washington State, 52-21, in the final game of the season. He rushed for 1,107 yards in 1950, making him the first Husky ever to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and the only Washington player to do it from 1950 until 1976.

The next year, the 6-1, 197-pound senior kept right on gobbling yardage and points and records. In a game against Southern California, McElhenny stunned the Trojans with a 100-yard punt return for a touchdown. His season statistics showed 17 touchdowns and 125 total points. And then he was honored as a First Team All-America selection, despite Washington's rather unspectacular 3-6-1 record. He finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Over three varsity seasons, McElhenny logged the following statistics: 2,499 yards rushing, 122 yards passing and 2,621 yards total offense. He concluded his three-years at Washington with 16 school records, including season and career rushing yards.

Drafted ninth overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 1952, McElhenny played 13 seasons in the NFL with the 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. He earned six Pro Bowl selections and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. The 49ers retired his No. 39 in 1971, and he became one of the 10 inaugural members of the Husky Hall of Fame in 1979.

After his professional football days, McElhenny entered public service, becoming vice-president of the Washington Transit Authority in Seattle.
Born, Dec. 31, 1928, McElhenny got his start at George Washington High School in Los Angeles.

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