Lester McClain went from being a high school football standout in Nashville to being a trailblazer on the collegiate football level.
McClain attended Haynes High School for his first three years in high school because as an African American he was not allowed to attend Antioch, the school located closest to his home. McClain finally was allowed to attend Antioch as a senior where he became an outstanding wide receiver.
McClain made the All-Nashville Interscholastic League First Team in 1966 and then signed a scholarship with Tennessee, setting the stage for him to make history. He became the first African American at Tennessee to play in an SEC football game as a wingback against Georgia.
In his three-years with the Vols McClain had 70 catches for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also scored two touchdowns on 10 carries and rushed for 123 yards. McClain also returned kickoffs for the Vols.
McClain was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1971 NFL Draft. He is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame and the UT Athletics Hall of Fame.
McClain has served on the UT Athletic Board, was appointed to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission by former Governor Lamar Alexander and earned the Sports Pioneer Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
He has been a successful insurance agent in Nashville since retiring from football.
The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the NFF proudly recognizes McClain as co-honoree of the “Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award!”