Memory of Jimmy McClendon

by Don Patteson

I first met Jimmy “Mac” McClendon in 1960, our sophomore year at MHS.  We played together on the Bulldog basketball “B” team that year.  It was immediately obvious that Jimmy was a gifted athlete.  We learned a lot under Coaches Todd and Spears and had a lot of fun that year.

Lee High School opened the following year and Jimmy and I lived on the side of town that put us into a new school with a new coach and a whole new approach to basketball.  Neither of us performed very well under the new sheriff in town, Coach Stueckler, and we spent our senior year riding the bench.  Jimmy had great promise as a basketball player – one of the two best natural shooters I ever played with – but his experience under that particular coaching style crushed his spirit.  Coach Todd told a friend of my father that if he had been able to keep Jimmy McClendon at MHS he would have made an all-district player out of him.  I had the opportunity to share that with Jimmy later in life and he broke down in tears.

I have learned through my own personal experiences in life that a coach can have a powerful impact on young athletes and, on my own path, I always tried to make sure the impact I had on youngsters was an encouraging and positive one.

Jimmy Mac and the Water Boys from Midland Texas. By John McElligott (AKA Star Man) and Gere Gaige (AKA Rocket Man).

Click the arrow below to listen to “Rocket Man” by Elton John while you are reading.

By John McElligott (AKA Star Man) and Gere Gaige (AKA Rocket Man).

I first met Jimmy McClendon  in the 7th grade at Austin Junior High at football practice. Other members were Eddie Shirley, Bill Cumbie, Robert Samford, Billops (lived at the Billops gas station out by the Texan Drive in Theater), Bill Walker, John Walker, Harvey Kennedy and many others. So, if you remember go down to comments and tell me who I left out. Jimmy was tall, fast, and played quarterback along with Harvey. 

I don’t remember the coach’s name, but i do remember he made all of us roll in the grass in order to get the stickers off the field and into our uniforms. Now getting the stickers out of the uniforms was a job, and Eddie Shirley came to practice the next day with sticker wounds and sores all over his hands and buttocks. 
Now there is more to come on Jimmy since he was a good football player and fearless on the field. I don’t think we won many games, if any, but we kicked ass against Cowden’s 7 grade team in a scrimmage with quarterback by Doug Barker. Needless to say Jimmy Mac and Harvey (with the help of Bill Cumbie) got put in on the Cowden’s team and I was really impressed by Jimmy’s calm, cool play calling. 

Click Here to continue reading