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UW Football Mourns Passing Of Husky Legend Hugh McElhenny

Jun 23, 2022

SEATTLE – Husky and Pro Football Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny passed away at the age of 93, the Hall of Fame confirmed on Thursday.
"The King" played at UW from 1949 through 1951, after transferring from Compton (Calif.) Junior College. He immediately earned the highest accolades as part of a backfield that also included quarterback Don Heinrich, the first and only first team All-America quarterback in Husky history.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of Husky legend Hugh McElhenny," said UW Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen. "Hugh's impact on football was felt across the country as he starred on Montlake before putting together a Hall of Fame career in the NFL. He represented everything that is good about this place and is one of the all-time great Huskies. My condolences to Hugh's family, friends and former teammates."
McElhenny, born on Dec. 31, 1928, rushed for 1,107 yards in 1950, making him the first Husky ever to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. No other UW player reached that milestone again until 1976. In his final game of the 1950 season, he rushed for 296 yards and five touchdowns vs. Washington State, setting a school single-game rushing record that still stands today. He finished his three-year college career with 16 school records, including season and career rushing yards. 

"Today's news is extremely sad for our program," said UW head coach Kalen DeBoer. "Hugh's name is synonymous with Washington football and we know he was a huge part of the incredible history we have here. His impact stretched far beyond UW and he did so many great things for the game of football. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to all that knew him."
A first-team Associated Press All-America selection in both 1950 and 1951, McElhenny finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1951.
Following his time on Montlake, McElhenny was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the ninth overall selection in the 1952 National Football League Draft. McElhenny went on to play 13 seasons in the NFL with the 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. In addition, he earned six Pro Bowl selections over his career. 
McElhenny was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 1970 after finishing his career with 5,281 rushing yards, 38 rushing touchdowns, 3,247 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. Upon his retirement after the 1964 season, McElhenny was one of three players to have more than 11,000 all-purpose yards (11,375).
McElhenny was one of 10 inaugural members of the Husky Hall of Fame in 1979. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.