Pat Cunningham spent his early years in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, Pat Cunningham served in the United States Army from 1941-1945 and participated in the Allied Invasion at Normandy in June, 1944, when he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
Following his military service, Pat attended Mansfield University in Pennsylvania where he received a Bachelor of Science degree, and attended George Peabody College in Tennessee where he earned a master’s degree.
Mr. Cunningham began his career in education as a physical education teacher and head football, basketball, and baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas. During his long career in Fairfax County, Pat was a teacher and coach at Fairfax High School, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics at Groveton High School, and served as Director of Student Activities and Athletics at W. T. Woodson High School for fifteen years. In 1975, as a measure of esteem and affection, the football stadium at Woodson was named the Patrick Cunningham Stadium.
After leaving W. T. Woodson High School, Pat worked as a human relations specialist for Fairfax County for two years before retiring in 1978. Mr. Cunningham was a leader in physical education and athletics in Northern Virginia and the State of Virginia for many years. His contributions include serving as Vice President of the Northern Virginia Athletic Directors, Administrators and Coaches Association, President of the Northern Region and Northern District Athletics Directors Association, and Tournament Director of regional and state playoff and championship games.
Pat is credited as the person who had the idea of founding NVADACA. Mr. Cunningham has been a force in guiding the organization in its mission of helping young people. It is especially fitting that NVADACA recognize this outstanding educator by awarding a scholarship in his name.