Steve Cunningham graduated from Waseca High School in 1975 as one of the top three sport athletes in school history. Steve then attended the University of Minnesota before receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
While in high school Steve earned 10 letters, four in track, three in basketball and three in football. Upon graduating from high school, Steve received a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota to play football. After completing his football eligibility at Minnesota, Steve was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants and spent one season with them on injured reserve.
In his high school football career at Waseca Steve was an All-Area and All-Conference his junior and senior seasons and All-State his senior season. Steve played a number of positions including tackle, defensive end and even quarterback one year. At the University of Minnesota, Steve was a part time starter his sophomore and junior years and a full time starter his senior year.
In basketball, Steve helped lead his team to the state tournament in his junior and senior seasons of 1974 and 1975. The Bluejays entered the state tournament ranked second in the state with a 25-0 record and finished the season at 27-1, the top record in Waseca history. He was one of the co-captains his senior year, along with fellow Hall of Fame member, Gene Glynn, and received honorable mention All-State as well as All-conference and All-Area. When he graduated he was in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounds on the career records list and still holds the record for most defensive rebounds in a single season with 195.
Track and Field provided a number of outstanding accomplishments for Steve in high school. He was the first Waseca track and field athlete to participate in the State Tournament three times, advancing in the high hurdles three times, the low hurdles twice and the discus once.
Steve was a conference champ in the low hurdles his junior year and in the high hurdles his senior year. He was section champion in the low hurdles and discus his senior year. He set a school record that still stands in the discus when he threw it nearly 162 feet in the State Meet, an effort that earned him a third place finish. He was the team scoring leader in his final three seasons and graduated as the all-time scoring leader in track and field. Steve was also the captain and team MVP his senior year.
Steve says that participating in five state tournaments during his high school career and playing for some great coaches and teammates were highlights of his high school career. He also remembers with fondness the tremendous fan support shown to the basketball program during his playing days.
Today, Steve resides in Albert Lea with his wife, Heidi. They have three children, Nick, 23, Amanda, 20 and Megan, 17. Steve was the head football coach at Albert Lea High School four years and is still teaching social studies at the high school.