McElhenny in January 2014
|Date of birth:||December 31, 1928|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles, California|
|High school:||Los Angeles (CA) Washington Prep|
|NFL draft:||1952 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Hugh Edward McElhenny (born December 31, 1928) is a former American football halfback. He played in the National Football League (NFL) from 1952 to 1964 for the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Detroit Lions. McElhenny 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 had Guillain-Barre syndrome, which almost killed him. He was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down and had to use a walker for a year.
After graduating from George Washington High School in Los Angeles, 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.
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.
On January 20, 1985, McElhenny participated in the opening coin toss at Super Bowl XIX, along with President Ronald Reagan, who participated by video feed from the White House after having been sworn in to his second term of office earlier that day.