Randall Cunningham On UNLV Hiring: 'I'm All-In. 100-Percent.'

Randall Cunningham On UNLV Hiring: 'I'm All-In. 100-Percent.'

The father of track and field star Vashti Cunningham will lead the UNLV jumps program under Olympian and former 'Fastest Woman Alive,' Carmelita Jeter.

Nov 21, 2023 by Cory Mull
Randall Cunningham On UNLV Hiring: 'I'm All-In. 100-Percent.'

Randall Cunningham would bump into Carmelita Jeter often over the years. 

Cunningham, 60, the former 16-year NFL veteran -- and former Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings star quarterback -- is the primary jumps coach to his daughter, an Olympian and the 2016 World Indoor Champion Vashti Cunningham, which has afforded him opportunities to be on-site for multiple Olympics and World Championships 

As the father to his son, Randall Cunningham II, he had also been to numerous NCAA Championships. 

Jeter, the former 'Fastest Woman Alive,' world record-holder and Olympic champion, has quickly ascended up the NCAA coaching pecking order, going from stops at Cal State Dominguez Hills to Missouri State, Alabama and Southern California. 

In May, she was named University of Nevada, Las Vegas' head coach of track and field. 

Cunningham, a long-time Las Vegas resident, is an UNLV alumni and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. But his work in track and field had also recently given him opportunities to consult with various universities -- like USC -- on his high jump expertise. 

Plus, his daughter, Grace, is a member of the UNLV program. His son Randall, 27, was a former NCAA champion for the Trojans, winning an outdoor title in 2016 and an indoor one in 2018. 

Jeter and Cunningham had a professional rapport. It made perfect sense. 

Cunningham was named UNLV's assistant coach on Monday, his role dealing specifically with the jumps.

"We're traveling in the same circles. Our relationship would be, 'Hey, what's going on?'" Cunningham told FloTrack on Tuesday. "We would hug. That's how it's been. It's not like I would call her all the time, but we would see each other at the Olympics, nationals. We would always run into each other. When she got this job, it was like a hand and a glove thing. 

Cunningham said he will continue to coach his daughter, Vashti, who resides in Las Vegas. 

"The good thing about it, it doesn't take away from what I'm doing with Vashti, either," he said. "The UNLV athletes who are high jumping, they will be in the same program, doing the same training as Vashti." 

Cunningham was a long-time high school coach who worked primarily with the Las Vegas-based track and field program Nevada Gazelles. He's also coming off a stint as the head chaplain of the Las Vegas Raiders from 2020 to 2022.

Cunningham said his goal is to develop the next generation of jumpers at UNLV, and to elevate them to the next level. 

"I'm looking for raw kids," he said, "kids who understand the sport and are serious about it. They want to be excellent and become a national champion."

Cunningham believes his working relationship with Jeter could help elevate the program to where the team is vying for qualifications and potential conference and national titles down the line. 

"Coach Jeter, she wants her kids to go to the Olympics," he said. "She wants our kids to represent our country. It's UNLV first, and then it's about pushing them into the pros." 

Recruiting could take up a critical portion of Cunningham's work.

"To be able to go in houses, I'm excited," he said. "Coach Jeter is very careful about who she brings in. She wants the character of someone who will want good grades and be serious about the unity and camaraderie of the team. 

"I'm all in, 100-percent, "Cunningham said.