Former Southern Miss Director of Athletics H.C. "Bill" McLellan will be inducted into the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame tonight in Columbia, S.C.
McLellan served as athletics director at The University of Southern Mississippi from 1986-1999, marking just the third full-time athletic director in the history of the school. McLellan had served as assistant athletic director and athletic director at Clemson University for nearly 30 years when he arrived at Southern Miss.
Golden Eagle fans grew to appreciate, as athletic people all over the country already did, the contributions of McLellan, which included the major facility improvements and additions such as the Track and Soccer Complex, the Pat Ferlise Center, a Student Services for athletics facility, Pete Taylor Park stadium project and the M-Club annex. He also began work on a building project that now houses most of the athletics staff in the Duff Athletic Center.
He was a major force in the formation of Conference USA, undoubtedly the biggest athletic step in the history of the University. And as then C-USA Commissioner Mike Slive said about him, "the accomplishments and achievements of Conference USA in the short time it has been in existence would not have occurred without the input and great leadership provided by Bill McLellan."
Others being inducted at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center include former South Carolina baseball coach Ray Tanner, former Clemson quarterback Homer Jordan, former Clemson "Voice of the Tigers" Jim Phillips, South Carolina baseball great Hank Small, Furman basketball standout Clyde Mayes, The Citadel running back Travis Jervey and high school baseball coach David Horton.
The following are quotes from current and former Southern Miss athletic staff members about McLellan:
Jeff Hammond, Director of Athletics Jeff Hammond
"The entire Southern Miss family sends their congratulations to Bill McLellan on being inducted into the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Mac was a tremendous leader and visionary who helped shape Southern Miss Athletics into a national leader. He was the architect of the move to Conference USA and was part of countless championships at USM. All of us at USM are extremely appreciative of his numerous contributions over his 13 years of service to Southern Miss. This is a most deserving honor to a most deserving person. Congrats Coach Mac."
Jeff Bower, former Southern Miss Football Coach
"Congratulations to Bill, Ann, and the McLellan family. Bill is without a doubt deserving of this tremendous honor. During his years at Southern Miss, I had the pleasure to work under him as an assistant and head coach and he was always very supportive of what we were trying to do and made sure that we had everything that we needed to always put the best team on the field each and every year. His ability to have Southern Miss be a charter member of Conference USA was among the top moments in the history of Southern Miss athletics."
M.K. Turk, former Southern Miss Basketball Coach
"Under the leadership of Bill McLellan, I saw the Southern Miss athletic program grow in leaps and bounds. He guided us into Conference USA and continued to provide the resources and facilities necessary for all sports at Southern Miss to grow on the national stage. He was a great ally to our basketball program and what we did and what we were trying to do at Southern Miss. Congratulations to Bill and his family on a well-deserved honor."
John Cox, Voice of the Golden Eagles
"When you look at the history of Southern Miss Athletics, I think you will find that the 13 years in which Bill McLellan directed the athletics program will be remembered as one of the most productive eras. Mr. Mac laid the foundation that helped Southern Miss athletics be successful in every sport. His involvement in the creation of Conference USA and the Golden Eagles being a part of it helped create an unprecedented run of championships and excellence throughout the athletics program. He will always be remembered as one of the architects of the great Southern Miss athletic program and I will always be thankful for the support and guidance that he gave me. Congratulations to him and his family."