This week we talk with Lester McClain, the first African American football player to play for the University of Tennessee, about his formative years, how he set himself up to succeed, and how it felt to be added to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

About our Guest: McClain was born in Nashville on September 17, 1949. He attended Haynes High School in Nashville for his freshman through junior years, as he was unable to attend the school closest to his home, Antioch High, because it was not racially integrated. In his senior year, McClain was allowed to attend Antioch High where he met UT alum Bill Garrett who ran the morning football practices. Garrett liked what he saw and approached Coach Dickey on McClain’s behalf. Tennessee recruited McClain primarily to be a roommate for an exceptional high school athlete named Albert Davis, who most thought would be the first to integrate UT’s football program. When Davis went elsewhere, the burden fell to McClain, and he rose to the occasion. During his three seasons at UT, McClain caught 70 passes for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed 30 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns and returned eight kickoffs for 168 yards. McClain was honored by the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame and UT’s Athletics Hall of Fame, and he has earned the Maxwell House Sport Award. In 1987, McClain was appointed to an alumni position on UT’s Athletic Board. He has also received numerous state appointments including the Tennessee Human Rights Commission by Governor Lamar Alexander. He also has a statue outside Gate 21 of Neyland Stadium honoring his part in ending racial segregation.

Follow and contact:

Let’s Rise Together.

Former Professional Athlete turned Serial Entrepreneur. Nick has been featured in CBS, NBC, FOX, The New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Disrupt Magazine and USA Wire. Nick is a Husband, Father & Coach. Nick is the Host of The Histreak Podcast. President of Team Hiter. Vice President of SANDLOTT Sports. Founder of Hitlab Creative Studios. Partner of Home Agent Group. Partner of Hub Holdings.