Kevin McLee

The McLee family has to be considered athletic royalty in Uniontown High School sportsí history. Brad, Billy, Reggie and Kevin ìBooî McLee are part of that great bloodline, but the crown jewel of the bloodline might be Kevin ìAgeî McLee.

The father of ìBooî McLee, Kevin cut a wide swath on the gridiron, the hardwood, and in track for the Uniontown Red Raiders in the early 1970ís.

Chuck Muncie  

He passed away in July 2007.

He was part of a resurgence of Uniontown football in the early 1970s under Jim Render. Before Render took over the Raiders in 1972, the Red Raiders had endured a two-year stretch where they managed one tie in 20 games.

McLee burst on to the scene with an outstanding season his junior year in 1972 when the Raiders posted a 6-3 record. McLee averaged close to 100 yards per outing and scored 50 points on eight touchdowns and one extra point.

After only a few practices with McLee, Render knew he had a running back to build his offense around.

"He was a big back, and he had that combination of power and deceptiveness," Render said.

Years later looking back on his high school days, McLee gave a lot of credit for his football development to his older brother Brad, who starred for the Red Raiders and in college at Michigan State.

"My father always encouraged me but it was my brother, Brad, who really got me interested in football," he stated in an article in the Uniontown Herald Standard. "He started me playing rag ball in the streets. That's kind of like rugby and it is rough. For a while I concentrated on track but switched back to football in the ninth grade."

McLee was a 9.9 sprinter and was a standout on the Uniontown track squad. He also played basketball for Coach Abe Everhart.

The Red Raiders hoop squads had a couple of rough seasons in McLeeís sophomore and junior seasons posting back-to-back 9-12 marks. In his senior season, McLee was hampered recovering from a football knee injury, but in sporadic playing time he helped the Raiders to a 16-6 record.

McLee was primed for a big senior season in football after garnering All-County honors as a junior. McLee suffered a knee injury in the Red Raiders second game in 1973 and underwent knee surgery and missed the remainder of his senior campaign.

Lightly recruited because of the knee injury, he signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia, who took a chance on McLee because of the outstanding numbers he posted as a junior. At the time he was the first Uniontown athlete to go to the SEC in 20-years dating back to Tom Fee attending the University of Kentucky.

"I always thought I'd like to play in the south. I like the emphasis on speed they have in the SEC. Most of the Big 10 schools which recruited me play a power type game, and I wanted to be with a team which didn't have the power attack,î McLee said. "The campus really impressed me from the start, and I think Georgia has the best football facilities in the country."

McLee had an outstanding freshman season and caught Georgia coach Vince Dooleyís eye as a sophomore in fall camp.

"McLee has been our most pleasant surprise," Coach Dooley said at the time. "He has been very impressive as a ball carrier. Of course, we expected a lot from him because of his 8.2 rushing average with the freshmen last season, but he did not have a good spring practice. He certainly has a fine future ahead of him.î

Hard work during the summer prior to his sophomore season paid big dividends for McLee.

"This past summer I worked for the recreation department back home and when I got off work, I'd go workout for an average of two hours an afternoon,î McLee explained. "I'd spend an hour on weights and then run for an hour. Most of the time I'd run a mile and then run sprints., I'd run the bleachers to build up my legs and believe that the extra running really helped my strength, and I feel I can go harder in the fourth quarter now."

McLee was sold on Georgiaís veer offense and he fit in well with that offense.

"The veer is really something. I like it because it offers you an opportunity to make big yards and you can get to the hole in a hurry,î McLee opined. "It is the type of offense where a lot of big plays can develop, and I like to hit that hole in a hurry which is something the veer lets you do."

The 6-foot, 188 pound McLee had adversity in his sophomore campaign. He was having a great season and had rushed for 804 yards until the next to last game when he suffered a broken leg. It put him out of the traditional season-ending clash with Georgia Tech and the Cotton Bowl game with Arkansas. He earned 2nd team All-SEC and Newcomer of the Year honors in 1975 while playing with the great Glynn Harrison. He ran for 1,058 yards and 6 touchdowns the next season, helping the Bulldogs to the 1976 SEC Title and the National Championship game. While he didn't have the same type of season in 1977, getting 717 yards, he surpassed Frank Sinkwich as Georgia's all-time leading rusher at that time with 2,581 yards.

McLee was a big time player, as evidenced by his 198 yards rushing against Florida in 1976 when the Cocktail Party boasted both teams with top 10 rankings, earning him a place in the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 2005. He followed that performance up with 203 yards against Auburn the next week in what was, at the time, the greatest back to back rushing performance in UGA history.

McLee earned consensus All-SEC first-team honors and was an honorable mention All-America selection in 1976. Georgia's overall record while he was a tailback was 24-11, with a 6-3 record against the Big Four. His bowl record was 0-2.

"Kevin is a complete back," Georgia head coach Vince Dooley said during McLeeís heyday. "He can go inside or outside. He is a good blocker. He can catch the ball well. He runs to daylight extremely well. He's durable and reliable. But maybe the most important thing about him is that he has a good attitude.î

In 2006, McLee got to see his son Kevin "Boo" McLee suit up for West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia. The Mountaineers upset the Bulldogs 38-35.

"For it to happen it is like a miracle for my son to play against my alma mater," McLee Sr. said prior to the game. "I never thought it would happen like that, but it did happen. I'm proud my son is playing for West Virginia. I have to pull for my alma mater, but on this one I'm going to have to go with my son."

Following his Georgia career, McLee played briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He lived near Los Angeles 21 years while working for Prudential Life Insurance. He suffered a stroke and passed away on July 15, 2007 at the age of 52.


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