Former Southern Miss AD dead at 81

Former Southern Miss Athletic Director Bill McLellan died Monday night of an illness at the age of 81.

The iconic Southern Miss figure served as the AD from 1986-1999 after succeeding Roland Dale as the third full-time AD and played a crucial role in the university joining Conference USA in 1996.

“Bill touched many people in both his personal and professional life, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” University President Rodney Bennett said. “Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time and they will remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

During his tenure, the athletic budget increased from $2.7 million to $10 million. Improvements to M.M. Roberts Stadium, including the first state-of-the-art scoreboard, Pete Taylor Park and other athletic facilities highlighted his career. He also played a large role in the formation of Conference USA, of which USM is still a member.

Many current and former faculty members at Southern Miss weighed in on McLellan’s passing and his legacy.

“His involvement in the formation of Conference USA will always be remembered as one of the biggest steps this school had taken,” said former USM baseball coach Hill Denson.  “For support of the head coaches at the time we are saddened by the news of the loss of one of the greatest leaders in Southern Miss Athletics.”

McLellan was inducted in the Southern Miss M-Club Hall of fame in 2001, Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame last year.