Frank Buncom
Frank Buncom 1969.jpg
No. 55
Personal information
Born:(1939-11-02)November 2, 1939
Shreveport, Louisiana
Died:September 15, 1969(1969-09-15) (aged 29)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school:Susan Miller Dorsey
(Los Angeles, California)
AFL Draft:1962 / Round: 6 / Pick: 48
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played-started:96-42
Fumble recoveries:2
Player stats at

Frank James Buncom Jr. (November 2, 1939 – September 15, 1969) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker in the American Football League (AFL). He played most of his career with the San Diego Chargers and is member of the Chargers Hall of Fame.

College career

After graduating from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Buncom attended junior college at East Los Angeles College. He then played college football at the University of Southern California, where he lettered in the 1960 and 1961 seasons.[1]

Professional career

Buncom played for seven seasons in the AFL with the San Diego Chargers (1962-1967) and the Cincinnati Bengals (1968).

He was a three-time AFL All-Star, in 1964, 1965, and 1967.

He was chosen by the Bengals in the 1968 AFL allocation draft for the expansion Bengals. He was a starting outside linebacker for the Bengals during their first-ever season.[2]

Buncom was slated to be a starter for the 1969 Bengals. On the morning of the Bengals' opening game of the 1969 regular season, on September 14, his roommate, Ernie Wright, was awakened to the sound of Buncom calling for him and gasping for breath. Neither Wright nor paramedics could save him. He was 29. The cause of death was determined to be a pulmonary embolism.[3][4]

He was survived by his wife Sarah, later a principal in the San Diego Unified School District, and seven-week-old son, Frank James Buncom III. His former team, the Chargers, as well as the Bengals, established trust funds for Buncom's son.[5]

When the San Diego Chargers announced their inaugural hall of fame class in 1976, Buncom was one of the four inductees.[6]

Ron Mix, a San Diego attorney and former teammate of Buncom's, said, "I remember Frank as being the best of us, and I'm talking about as a person with high character."[7]

His grandson, Frank Buncom IV, attended St. Augustine High School, where he was an outstanding defensive back as of 2014 being recruited by many Division I programs.[8][9][10] On January 28, 2015, he signed to play at Stanford University.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "The San Diego Union-Tribune - San Diego, California & National News".
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-01-25.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "The Chargers Original #55 - Frank Buncom".
  4. ^ Bengals linebacker found dead
  5. ^ "The Dispatch - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ "Book Review: "Finding Frank: Full Circle in a Life Cut Short" by Buzz Ponce".
  7. ^ "The San Diego Union-Tribune - San Diego, California & National News".
  8. ^ "Recruiting Football Team News, 247Sports".
  9. ^ "Frank Buncom IV's High School Timeline".
  10. ^ "The Chargers Original #55 - Frank Buncom".
  11. ^ "Frank Buncom IV - Football Recruiting - Player Profiles - ESPN".