Bennie Cunningham was the first African-American Clemson football player to be named All-ACC and All-American. He was a two-time All-American, as he was selected in 1974 and 1975. He was named to the 1974 Associated Press All-American team and appearing on the Bob Hope Christmas Special on NBC.
Cunningham was named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary team in 2003, the only tight end selected, giving him the title of the greatest ACC tight end of the first 50 years of the league.
Cunningham was a first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 and was named to the Steelers All-time team for the first 75 years of the franchise, one of just two tight ends selected. He was a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the franchised.
When he retired from the NFL he returned to his hometown of Seneca and became a respected secondary educator.
Tragically, he died of cancer in August of 2018 at the age of 63.