Ian Cunningham
Chicago Bears
Position:Assistant general manager
Personal information
Born:1985 or 1986 (age 38–39)
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Career information
High school:Hebron (TX)
College:Virginia (2003–2007)
Undrafted:2008
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As an executive:
Career highlights and awards

Ian-Yates Cunningham (born 1985 or 1986)[1] is an American football executive and former player who is the assistant general manager for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Virginia Cavaliers and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2008. After a short stint with the Chiefs, Cunningham became an executive, starting with the Baltimore Ravens and later with the Philadelphia Eagles before getting his current position with the Bears in 2022.

Early life

Cunningham grew up in Carrollton, Texas.[2] His father, Louis, was an agent at ProServ, which helped represent Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, while his second cousin was tennis player Arthur Ashe.[1] Cunningham attended Hebron High School in Plano and played football as an offensive lineman, receiving many all-area and all-state honors while being selected to play in the All-American Bowl.[2]

Cunningham enrolled at the University of Virginia in 2003 and started five games as a true freshman before suffering a ruptured disk that required surgery.[3] He was selected honorable mention Freshman All-American by Rivals.com and also earned Freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors from The Sporting News.[2] He redshirted in 2004 while recovering from injury.[3] After seeing limited action at center in 2005, Cunningham moved to guard in 2006 and was a starter for his last two years, finishing his career with 31 career starts.[3][4]

Cunningham graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in psychology and later received a master's degree in education and human development.[5] While at Virginia, he also announced games for the radio station WINA.[6]

Professional career

Cunningham was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft, but did not make the final roster.[7]

Executive career

Shortly after being released by the Chiefs, Cunningham joined the Baltimore Ravens as a personnel assistant.[1] While in this position, he helped the team win a Super Bowl in 2012.[8] He was promoted from personnel assistant to area scout in 2013.[9] He served a total of nine years with the Ravens and they made the playoffs in six of those years.[7] In 2017, Cunningham was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as director of college scouting and won his second Super Bowl that year.[5] He became assistant director of player personnel in 2019 and served in the role for two years.[5] In 2021, he received a promotion to being the Eagles director of player personnel.[10]

Cunningham was mentioned in 2020 on a list of The Athletic's "40 under 40" for those whom it considered "the rising stars shaping the direction of the NFL."[11] He was hired by the Chicago Bears in 2022 as assistant general manager to Ryan Poles, making him one of the highest-ranking African American executives in the league.[1] He has been interviewed for general manager positions several times, including being considered a finalist in 2024 for the job for the Washington Commanders.[12]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Pompei, Dan (March 22, 2022). "Looking at things through a different lens has helped make Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham a rising NFL star". The Athletic.
  2. ^ a b c Mayer, Larry (January 29, 2022). "Bears hire Cunningham as assistant general manager". Chicago Bears.
  3. ^ a b c White, Jeff (December 30, 2007). "Cunningham ready for next chapter". Richmond Times-Dispatch. p. C3 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  4. ^ Jenkins, Missy (October 23, 2006). "Ian-Yates Cunningham: A View from the Radio Booth". Virginia Cavaliers.
  5. ^ a b c Boclair, David (January 14, 2023). "General Manager Candidate: Ian Cunningham". Sports Illustrated.
  6. ^ Jenkins, Jay (August 23, 2006). "On The Air". The Daily Progress. p. 13, 16 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  7. ^ a b Barbieri, Alyssa (January 30, 2022). "Bears hire Ian Cunningham: 5 things to know about Chicago's new assistant GM". USA Today.
  8. ^ Hammond, Sean (January 8, 2024). "Reports: Commanders request interview with Bears assistant GM". Daily Herald.
  9. ^ Walker, Teresa M. (January 14, 2023). "Titans interview Bears' Cunningham, Cards' Harris for GM job". The Seattle Times. Associated Press.
  10. ^ Barbieri, Alyssa (January 8, 2024). "Commanders request to interview Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham". USA Today.
  11. ^ Mayer, Larry (March 15, 2022). "Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham a rising star". Chicago Bears.
  12. ^ Simmons, Myles (January 11, 2024). "Adam Peters, Ian Cunningham are finalists for Commanders head of football operations". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports.