School: Calhoun High School
Riley Gunnels grew up in Calhoun and was a star football player for Calhoun High School in the early 1950s. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Georgia in 1954; where he was a three-year letterman for the Bulldogs as a left tackle. In that era, three year letters was the maximum.
Gunnels remains the only person in Calhoun-Gordon County’s history to have played for a NFL championship team, the 1960 NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles. A 10th round pick as a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1959 NFL Draft, he went on to make his mark in the league with the Eagles from 1960 to 1964. He was named Defensive Team MVP for the 1962 season. Riley was part of media interviews and stories during the 2017 NFL championship season for the Eagles and is still considered a legend in Pennsylvania and Calhoun-Gordon County, Georgia.
Gunnels finished his NFL career with the Steelers in the 1964-65 seasons and went on to a successful business career; becoming president of Signal Graphics in Egg Harbor Township, Pennsylvania, where he is still active. He has been active in a variety of youth sports for his children and grandchildren and currently lives in Egg Harbor Township with his wife Kay, whom he married in 1964.