After playing on the offensive line for Georgia in the early 1940s, Kuniansky joined the Navy in World War II. As an illustration of Harry's colorful personality, his wife told the following story, "When Harry joined the Navy...the recruiting officer asked him if he had a middle name. His Russian-born parents had not given him one. So Harry thought a while, then said his middle initial was P. The officer then said, 'What does the P stand for?' Harry hesitated, then came up with 'Percival.'"
During the war, Kuniansky rose to the rank of lieutenant and received the Purple Heart in the North Africa campaign. German shrapnel badly injured his shoulder, which eventually prevented him from playing with the Miami Seahawks of the AAFC after the war. Instead, Harry started a construction company in Marietta (Georgia) called Raco General Contractors.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 7, 1920- d. August 15, 2000
Kuniansky, who received the nickname "Koon" while an All-America high school player, was a key member of Georgia's football team in the early 1940s. It was Harold Hirsch, the chief counsel of Coca Cola, who recruited Harry for Georgia over Georgia Tech, where his four brothers had graduated. In 1941, the Bulldogs had a record of 9-1-1 and defeated TCU 40-26 in the Orange Bowl; it was the first bowl game in the school's history.
The following year, Georgia won its first nine games and was ranked No. 1 before falling to Auburn, 27-13. But the Bulldogs rebounded to win a Rose Bowl bid, defeating previously unbeaten Georgia Tech in Athens, 34-0, in the regular season finale. Georgia then defeated UCLA, 9-0, in the Rose Bowl to finish the season 11-1. In the final rankings, Georgia was declared national champion in six polls recognized by the NCAA.
Kuniansky played guard at Georgia from 1940-1942.
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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)