Heidelberg's McClellan served JCJC in many ways

Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: shawn.wansley@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2010-09-12 13:43:45

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – Mike McClellan enjoyed a great deal of success on the football field for the Jones County Junior College Bobcats.

And he credits legendary Bobcat head coach Sim Cooley with having JCJC ready to play each time they took the field.

““That was an experience, it was really was,” McClellan said of playing for Cooley. “Coach Cooley was of the old school and we had some hard practices. But you got rewarded because the games were easier than the practices.  Those practices made men out of you.

“I really enjoyed the good times at JCJC.”

For his success both on and off the field, McClellan has been selected for induction into the 2010 Class of the JCJC Sports Hall of Fame. McClellan, along with the late Carlos McDaniel, a Bobcat basketball standout, and Dr. Joe-Michael Robertson, a football star, comprise this year’s class.

The men will be inducted during the annual Hall of Fame Dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Ronald Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in the Howard Technology Park. They will be recognized during halftime of the JCJC vs. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football game on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. Kickoff for the game is 7 p.m.

McClellan, a Heidelberg native and an All-Rebel Conference performer for two years at Heidelberg High School, came to JCJC in1962.

The Bobcats went 5-5-1 during his freshman year.

“We had some great players on that team,” said McClellan. “We had much larger players on that team than when I was a sophomore. We had a few rough games, but ended up having a pretty good season.”

In 1963, the Bobcats were improved, posting a 7-3 mark. However, they just missed out on winning the South Division when they dropped their final game to Pearl River, 20-13.

“We were one play away from winning the South Division,” McClellan said. “Pearl River beat us in the last minute.”

But McClellan racked up the postseason honors.

He was named the Most Valuable Back in the league, as well as being named All-State, All-Region and All-American as a quarterback. In fact, he was the first player under Coach Cooley to be named an All-American.

“I consider that to be a very big honor,” he said. “But I don’t know how I got those awards. I had 25 touchdown passes, Bill Buckner at Scooba had 24 and the young man from Pearl River had 26, with his last one beating us for the state championship.”

McClellan, who also ran track for the Bobcats, said there were several notable games during his two years at JCJC, but he remembers one game in particular.

‘The most memorable game was against Co-Lin, I think,” he said. “We were down 17-0 with about nine minutes to play and we were not playing really well. We were playing so badly, in fact, at halftime, Coach Cooley refused to come into the dressing room with us. He said, ‘Y’all are so bad, I’m not even gong to come in there with you.’

“Well, we had a guy from Enterprise by the name of Mac Arthur Hamburg. He was a big, gentle guy who never said anything. We were all sitting in there wondering what to do. All of a sudden, Big Mac said, ‘I don’t know about you, but I know what practice is going to be like next week. I think we need to go out and win this game.’

So, we went out and won, 21-17.”

He then received a scholarship to Southern Miss where he held the record for lowest percentage for interceptions for over 100 passes, a record that stood for many years.

“We had a little success down there and won some games,” McClellan said of his experience at Southern Miss. “We had a lot of good athletes and good guys there. We ventured off to Norfolk, Va., and beat North Carolina State 7-6 in the Oyster Bowl and that was pretty big.

“But I really remember that the practices were 180 degrees (opposite) from JCJC. They were so easy, I gained 15 pounds in my first quarter there.”

McClellan lettered in football and baseball at USM.

After graduating from USM, McClellan served as a teacher and coach in the area for eight years and then went into pharmaceutical sales for a few years. He would then go into the banking business.

“I got a call from a local guy in Heidelberg,” he said. “They had opened up a new bank and wanted me to come to work for them. I told him, ‘Y’all will have to train me.’ That was 33 years ago.”

McClellan served on the JCJC Board of Trustees for 25 years and served for eight years as President of the Board. He also served as President of the State Organization for Trustees for the state’s 15 community and junior colleges.

He also helped to restart the golf program at JCJC when his son wanted to play while in school.

McClellan and his wife, Margie, have been married for 43 years and currently reside in Hattiesburg. He has a son, Scotty, and a daughter, Suzanne Markel, along with three grandchildren – Tripp, Owen and Mac.


JCJC Sports Hall of Fame

Class of 2007 – Sim Cooley, Joe Flowers, A.B. Howard

Class of 2008 – Randall Boone, John Perkins, Gene Tullos

Class of 2009 – Gwen Magee, L.D. Ready, Jerry “Sally” Smith, Aubrey Wade, Patricia Waldrup

Class of 2010 – Mike McClellan, Carlos McDaniel, Dr. Joe-Michael Robertson


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