Harry Vance "Chuck" Muncie
(born March 17, 1953 in
Pennsylvania) is a former American
football running back who played
for the New Orleans Saints and
San Diego Chargers in the
National Football League
from 1976 to 1984.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl
three times (1980, 1981, 1982).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Muncie was considered by many as
one of the best running backs in the game until cocaine
problems forced him into retirement.
Eventually he went to prison
where he turned
his life around and now helps others through mentoring
Early life and career
born and raised in a coal-mining Pennsylvania town, as one of six children in a football-playing
Muncie played during his sophomore year in high
school, before an injury halted his career and he turned to
. Muncie got a scholarship to
Arizona Western Junior
. While there, the coach of the football team was
sufficiently impressed by Muncie's talent that he convinced him to
try out for football as well. Muncie did so, and made the team.
played basketball for the school but was recruited by the University of
California, Berkeley after one year.
Muncie was a star running back for California during the 1970s. He
was big, fast and elusive, and was also a good receiver. Muncie set
six school rushing records, including most touchdowns
and most yards gained in a single
season. He was instrumental in Cal's NCAA-leading offense which
propelled the team to the co-championship of the Pac-8
in 1975, and he appeared for
the first time on the cover of Sports Illustrated
. Muncie was a strong
candidate for the Heisman Trophy and
finished second in the voting in 1975 behind Archie Griffin of Ohio State.
He was awarded the 1975 W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy
outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast. After Muncie
graduated, the New Orleans Saints selected him in the 1st round of
the 1976 NFL
with the 3rd overall selection.
Muncie's appearance was notable for his use of goggles
Muncie was also an active member of the fraternity Theta Delta Chi
, nicknamed the "Chia House,"
for its noticeable ivy exterior. In Theta Delta Chi, Muncie lived
in Grass Hut and then in Ski Hut-- two rooms of the house named
Muncie went to the Pro Bowl and was named the game's MVP after the
1979 season with the Saints, and broke a couple of team rushing
records in the process. Muncie became the first Saints player ever
to reach the 1,000-yard rushing plateau when he ran for 1,198 yards
in 1979. But he requested a trade after the 1979 season, alleging a
racist atmosphere in New Orleans.
During the 1980 season, Muncie was traded to the San Diego
Chargers, where he again was selected for the Pro Bowl twice,
including 1981 when he ran for 1,144 yards and an NFL-high 19
touchdowns. He went on to rush for 120 yards and a touchdown San
Diego's 41-38 win over the Miami
in a famous playoff game known as The Epic in Miami
, and 94 yards in the AFC
title game, known as the Freezer Bowl
Muncie also helped lead the team to two AFC
division championships and he twice appeared on the cover
of Sports Illustrated
. He retired at the end of the 1984
season after he tested positive for cocaine
Muncie finished his 9 season career with 6,702 rushing yards, 263
receptions for 2,323 yards, 20 kickoff returns for 432 yards, and
Addiction and recovery
But the end of his football career marked the beginning of Muncie's
involvement with cocaine; the situation worsened after a bitter
divorce from his wife. Only a few years after he retired from
professional football, Muncie was in federal prison in California for 18 months on cocaine distribution
After prison, Muncie committed himself to mentoring at-risk youth
by creating his own non-profit organization called the Chuck Muncie
Youth Foundation, which works to move youth and adolescents. Muncie
also currently mentors University of California football players
once a year.