Ex-Chiefs Head Coach Gunther Cunningham Dies at Age 72

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2019

Detroit Lions senior coaching assistant Gunther Cunningham is seen during an NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham died at the age of 72 on Saturday from cancer, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Cunningham spent two seasons as the head coach of the Chiefs (1999-00), going 16-16. He also served as the defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders (1992-93), defensive coordinator of the Chiefs (1995-98, 2004-08) and defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions (2009-13). 

A number of people around the NFL paid their respects to Cunningham on Monday: 

Cunningham began his coaching career in 1969 as a defensive line coach for the Oregon Ducks. After 12 seasons in college with Oregon, Arkansas, Stanford and California and one season coaching in the CFL for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Cunningham shifted to the NFL with the Baltimore Colts in 1982 as a defensive line and linebackers coach. 

He spent three seasons with the Colts before serving as the defensive line coach of the San Diego Chargers (1985-90). He also spent one season as linebackers coach for the Raiders (1991). He was then promoted to defensive coordinator (1992-93). 

Cunningham was born in Munich, Germany, in 1946 before his family emigrated to the United States when he was 10 years old. He quickly took to football, playing college ball at Oregon as a linebacker and kicker.