Percy McClellan

1985 Greater Flint
Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee


Born: North Carolina

Percy McClellan moved to Flint from North Carolina at the age of eight and attended Clark Elementary School. He finished at Central in 1920.

There are many athletes whose names stand out in the minds of Flint sports fans but Percy, being the first outstanding black football star, should never be forgotten. He was one of the first black athletes to don a Flint high school grid uniform.

Those on the 1917-1919 Central schedule will never forget the powerful fullback. Very few remember him today as such but he was called a demon on running plays and he also did the punting. He was the perfect size for a fullback. He was the individual star in the season opener of 1918 against Owosso, winning 25-0. Once, while plunging through the line for immense gains, he knocked out two players at once, including himself.

Percy gave his line credit for opening holes for him. He was usually good for 20 or 30 yards on a straight plunge into the line. Once, while punting at a game in Grand Rapids, with the wind to his back, he kicked the ball the length of the playing field. The Flint Journal even gave McClellan credit for his value to his team. Making note of the fact: “A great deal of interest centers around the play of the first big colored boy to wear the red and black uniform.”

In 1919 it was written that McClellan was out and a huge difference in the team moral was noticed. The coach, Glenn Mayer, had great confidence in Percy. In his very first appearance he carried the ball more than anyone and received special attention from the coach.

McClellan also pitched on the baseball team and played center on the basketball team. He played semi-pro football with the Flint Bears and a year later he joined the Flint Cardinals. A knee injury ended his football career. Percy later worked for General Motors and was a member of the Flint Police Department from 1935 to 1940.