By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN
On May 13th it was announced that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach, and former Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had passed over the weekend.
For the Lions, he served as both a defensive coordinator under former head coach Jim Schwartz and then a defensive analyst for the Lions when he retired.
Born in Germany, he came to the United States as a child, shortly after World War II ended. At the time, he didn’t speak English but used football to help get acclimated to America. He ended up having college coaching stints at Oregon, California, Stanford and Arkansas.
After his college career, he spent some time in Canada in the CFL. In 1982, he came back to the States and began his NFL Coaching career; first with the Colts, then moving on to Kansas City.
Remembered by most for his love of the game, and his passion, he was one of the more aggressive coaches, but still was very caring and helpful in molding defensive players on and off the field. He was a defensive perfectionist and took it personally if an opposing team had success against his defense.
— David Eulitt (@davidphotokc) May 14, 2019
“I yell a lot…but I’m a good man.”
The football world lost Gunther Cunningham this past weekend. Cunningham was a great defensive mind who brought a unique passion to the game during his 34 years coaching in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/PaQc9tTgoG
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) May 13, 2019
Here are how some around the NFL remembered Coach Cunningham:
It hurts my heart to hear we’ve lost Gunther Cunningham. He may have come off as tough, but that was because he cared. Gun believed in me when many didn’t, and kept pushing me. For that I am forever grateful. My prayers are with the Cunningham family.
— Tahir Whitehead (@Big_Tah47) May 13, 2019
Gunther Cunningham was one of the giants in the coaching profession, and a true gentleman, teacher and leader. RIP. https://t.co/oEFiTPjICc
— Mike O’Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) May 13, 2019
Sad to hear about the passing of Gunther Cunningham. The @Chiefs ex-HC/DC might’ve had the biggest impact on me as a player/future coach. He taught me the value of trust and communication between coach and player. Not to mention, he showed me how aggressiveness wins. #RIPGun pic.twitter.com/v5hpXj1Yo4
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) May 13, 2019
Was sad to learn of the passing of my friend, Gunther Cunningham.
I had the honor to coach with him & against him. You’ll never meet another man with such a passion for people, family & football. We will miss him deeply. Our thoughts & prayers are with Rene and the family. pic.twitter.com/xvIOs5x1vt
— Jeff Fisher (@CoachJeffFisher) May 13, 2019
Rest In Peace, Gunther Cunningham, longtime NFL coach and one of the finest men in our business. Gunther’s first NFL coaching job was with the Colts beginning in ‘82, and he made the move to Indy. Our hearts and prayers are with Gunther’s family.
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) May 13, 2019
Sad to hear about my coach Gunther Cunningham. He was my first D coordinator for 4 years with the chiefs. Helped me create a strong foundation that lasted 10 years after coaching me. My Prayers goes out to his wife and family. ??
— Derrick Johnson (@superdj56) May 13, 2019
We here at OurTurf Football send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Gunther Cunningham
Talk Football with Sonja on Twitter // @Mom23RN