CLEMSON – Bill McLellan, the athletic director during Clemson’s 1981 national football championship, died early Monday morning at Greenville Memorial Hospital. He was 81.
McLellan oversaw the Tigers’ athletic department from 1971-85, during which time Clemson won 34 ACC titles in nine different sports. He also had a hand in Memorial Stadium expanding to 80,000 seats with upper decks and luxury suites. The North upper deck was renamed in his honor last May.
A school without a single women’s program when McLellan began his AD tenure, Clemson instituted eight women’s teams between 1975-77.
McLellan hired seven head coaches who today are in the Clemson Hall of Fame (which McLellan joined himself in 1993.) That group includes Danny Ford, who was inducted to the Football Ring of Honor on Aug. 31 as still the youngest head coach (33) to win a national championship.
“He had a great influence on me,” Ford said in a release Monday. “He gave me an opportunity at an early age. I don’t know if there was another athletic director in the country who would have given me that chance at that time.”
McLellan played football for Clemson from 1951-54, lettering his last two years. His predecessor as athletic director was Frank Howard.
McLellan is survived by his wife, Ann, and children Suzy, Bill, Cliff and Arch Anna.