By Staff Report.
Bill McLellan, who served Clemson for over 30 years, including 14 years as Director of Athletics, died early Monday morning at Greenville (SC) Memorial Hospital. McLellan was 81 years old at the time of his death.
McLellan’s vision brought Memorial Stadium to an 80,000 seat structure, hired some of the most successful coaches in school history, and expanded the athletic landscape to include women’s athletics.
McLellan served as Clemson Director of Athletics from 1971-85. During this time Clemson won 34 ACC Championships in nine different sports. The program was especially successful from 1978-85 when Clemson had 45 top 25 teams and 27 ACC championships.
The program had a national top five all-sports ranking four times in a five-year period between 1978-83, including an all-time best number-three ranking for the 1979-80 academic year. That year Clemson reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in its first appearance, went to the College World Series and to the Peach Bowl.
The football program made great strides during McLellan’s tenure, highlighted by the 1981 National Championship the school’s first national title in any sport. Clemson ranked in the top 20 in the nation five times and won three ACC Championships (1978, 1981, 1982) during McLellan’s time at Clemson.
McLellan’s vision for facilities had much to do with the program’s improvement. He oversaw the building and financing of Clemson’s South upper deck in 1978 and the North upper deck in 1983, bringing the stadium to among the top 15 largest on-campus facilities in the nation. It was also his plan to incorporate 100 luxury boxes into the expansion to help finance the projects.