Hugh McElhenny
No. 39     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1928-12-31) December 31, 1928 (age 90)
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California
High School: Los Angeles (CA) Washington Prep
Career information
College: Washington
NFL Draft: 1952 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
Debuted in 1952 for the San Francisco 49ers
Last played in 1964 for the Detroit Lions
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Rushing yards     5,281
Average     4.7
Touchdowns     38
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Hugh Edward McElhenny (born December 31, 1928 in Los Angeles, California) is a former American football running back in the National Football League who played from 1952–1964, for the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Detroit Lions. He was noted for his explosive, elusive running style and was frequently called "The King" and "Hurryin' Hugh". He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. McElhenny suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, from which he almost died. He was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down and had to use a walker for a year.[1]

He is related to the McIlhenny family of Louisiana, the makers of Tabasco sauce.[2]

College careerEdit

After graduating from Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles,[1] McElhenny attended Compton Junior College where he was a starter on Compton's undefeated football team in 1948. One of McElhenny's Compton teammates was future 1952 Olympic gold medalist Sim Iness. McElhenny then starred at the University of Washington where he was an All-America selection. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

He was a member of Alpha Theta Delta of Chi Psi fraternity at the university.

Professional careerEdit

McElhenny was a first round pick of the 49ers in the 1952 NFL Draft, and made an immediate impression as a rookie. He recorded the season's longest run from scrimmage (89 yards), the longest punt return (94 yards), and the top rushing average (7.0 yards per carry). He won the Rookie of the Year award that season. He continued with the 49ers through 1960, earning five Pro Bowl appearances, before joining the Vikings in 1961. He also played with the Vikings in 1962 before going to the Giants in 1963. He then finished his career with one season for the Lions.

McElhenny gained 11,375 all-purpose yards in his 13 year career. He was nicknamed "The King" while with the 49ers.

After retiring as a player, McElhenny served as a color commentator on 49ers radio broadcasts from 1966 to 1972.


External linksEdit