December 31 1928|
Los Angeles, CA, in
|NFL Draft||1952 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9|
|NFL Supplemental Draft||/ Pick:|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Career highlights and awards|
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.
After graduating from Washington High School in Los Angeles, McElhenny attended Compton College where he was a starter on Compton's undefeated football team in 1948. 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 his football career ended, he retired to the Pacific Northwest. In 1994, McElhenny suffered an attack of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, from which he almost died. He was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down, had to use a walker for a year, and still suffers from weakness in his legs. He and his wife now live in southern Nevada.