Former UNLV All-America punter, NFL quarterback and longtime Las Vegas resident Randall Cunningham has become the first player in school history to be voted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The announcement of the 2016 National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame bowl subdivision inductees was made Friday live on ESPNU from the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cunningham, who serves as pastor at his Remnant Ministries in Las Vegas, was one of four players on hand for the announcement, which was made in conjunction with the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship weekend.
Cunningham is part of a class of 14 players and two coaches that was selected by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court, which considers voting results from the organization’s 12,000 members. The 2016 finalist ballot, released in June, consisted of 76 All-America players and five former coaches.
This marked Cunningham’s 11th time on the ballot after first being nominated by the UNLV athletic communications office in 2006. The class will be inducted as part of the National Football Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner scheduled for Dec. 6 at New York City's Waldorf Astoria.
Cunningham will join John Robinson, who became the first former UNLV head coach (1999-2004) inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Randall also joins his older brother, former USC running back Sam Cunningham, who was inducted in 2010.
While an offensive force on the field, Cunningham earned All-America honors primarily as a punter. The native of Santa Barbara, Calif., did not start kicking until the middle of his sophomore season at UNLV and fell just eight career attempts short of the NCAA minimum for records for career punting statistics. If he had punted just eight more times, he would have recorded the second-best career punting average in college history at the time for 150 minimum attempts. He is also the only Rebel to post three punts of 70 yards or longer.
Still both the career passing and punting leader at UNLV, Cunningham set 18 individual school records and finished his collegiate career by leading the Rebels to their first-ever bowl-game appearance -- a 30-13 victory over Toledo in the 1984 California Bowl.
Cunningham was the first quarterback selected in the 1985 NFL Draft when he went No. 37 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles. A four-time Pro Bowl invitee, he was a three-time winner of the Bert Bell Award and was named the 1998 NFL Offensive Player of the Year while with the Minnesota Vikings.
Cunningham, who was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997, later returned to campus to complete his classwork and earned his bachelor’s degree from UNLV’s Harrah College of Hotel Administration in December of 2004.
Cunningham, who wore No. 12 for the Scarlet & Gray, remains the school’s only football player to have his jersey retired.