Coach Bill McClure:RIP! You Served Your Lord Well!



I received an email from my Aunt in Baton Rouge, informing me of Coach McClure’s passing, and that her oldest son, and his wife, dropped everything, and went to Baton Rouge for the funeral on Tuesday. I always knew there was a deep affection for Coach by my family, and my cousins all ran track there. My oldest cousin that ran track, did so under the leadership of this gentleman, and inspired him, and helped him be the best he could be. Including a thrilling steeplechase win at the Texas Relays, against some of the best runners in the world.
That’s what coaches/teachers do, they look inside a young person, and find the best of them, and help them bring it out. Coach McClure did that for forty-seven years.
After graduating from high school in 1939, serving in the USMC in the Pacific until 1945, then graduating from Abilene Christian College in 1948, Coach always found the young people, and their abilities, to excel.
A list of his professional accomplishments:

McClure amassed a sterling coaching record at Abilene Christian (Texas), South Carolina and LSU during a head coaching career that began with the Wildcats in 1963. McClure also served as an assistant track and field coach for the United States Olympic Team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, which were plagued by a terrorist attack that led to the death of 11 Israeli athletes.

During his ACU career, McClure coaches 42 athletes who won all-America honors a total of 63 times.McClure coached a total of 145 United States Track and Field Federation (USTFF) and NCAA all-America athletes, and achieved the unusual feat of mentoring all-America athletes in every event on the track and field schedule.

Teams and individual athletes that McClure was associated with have held world records in the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard dash, the 440-yard relay (twice), the 880-yard relay (twice), the mile relay, and the pole vault (indoors). While at Abilene Christian, his teams won 22 major titles at the Texas, Kansas, Drake, Modesto and Penn relays.

From 1976-1981, McClure coached 34 NCAA all-America athletes at LSU and began the women’s track and field program. During his tenure, the Tigers produced several Southeastern Conference individual champions. His 1979 men’s team placed second in the SEC indoor championships, fifth in the NCAA outdoor championships, and won the NCAA men’s 4×400.

Sources: Here and Here.

I never met Coach, and while I wish I could have known him like my family, I think I know the measure of the man. While he is unique to his chosen profession, he is of that greatest generation, that went to war as a young man, returned home and resumed his life. The impact he, and others, of his era have made on us and the world is still being appreciated to this day. Coach gave of himself, even offering to give his life for his country so we could live free, helped rebuild this country and the world, and helped shape attitudes of hundreds of young men and women.

“Bill McClure was one of the great track and field coaches of his generation, He was an outstanding Christian gentlemen, an excellent teacher and an excellent coach in both football and track and field.”

I am grateful to know that such men have done so much for so many. I feel more pride in his existence, than sorrow in his passing.
God Bless You, Coach McClure…one more time!

2 Responses

  1. Rest in peace Coach McClure

  2. Coach McClure was a wonderful example of the many Marine brothers I knew in the Corps who exemplified a saying after one of our battles; “Valor was a common virtue.” And, so it was, and so he was.

    He lived his personal understanding of Christian, American, and Marine Corps definitions of manly manhood in behalf of others – especially the young.

    Pride is often rejected in favor of a ”voluntary humility,’ but Coach McClure wisely understood that no one will accept Responsibility above the level of their own self-respect, – and he taught self-respect through God’s gifts – and genuine obligations of personal deedful ownership and leadership.

    Bill is my brother Christian, American, and Marine.
    Always Faithful

    Jim Baxter
    Sgt. USMC
    WWII & Korean War
    Teacher, 5th Grade 30 wonderful years
    a follower of The Lion of Judah
    + + +

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