Ray McLean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Raymond McClean or Ray McLean (fullback).
Ray McLean
Personal information
Date of birth: (1915-12-06)December 6, 1915
Place of birth: Lowell, Massachusetts
Date of death: March 4, 1964(1964-03-04) (aged 48)
Place of death: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Height: 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Weight: 168 lb (76 kg)
Career information
High school: Cushing Academy (MA)
College: St. Anselm (NH)
NFL Draft: 1940 / Round: 21 / Pick: 192
Debuted in 1940 for the Chicago Bears
Last played in 1947 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
 As player:
  • Chicago Bears (1940–1947)
  • 4× NFL Champion (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946,)
 As coach:
Career NFL statistics
Stats at NFL.com
Head coaching record
Career record 1–10–1 (1958)
Coaching stats at pro-football-reference.com

Ray "Scooter" McLean (December 6, 1915 - March 4, 1964) was a football player and coach at both the collegiate and professional levels, He was a member of four NFL championship teams with the Chicago Bears in 1940, 1941, 1943, & 1946. He may be best remembered for preceding Vince Lombardi as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1958.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts and raised Concord, New Hampshire, McLean went to prep school at Cushing Academy Ashburnham, Massachusetts, then played both football and basketball in New Hampshire at St. Anselm College in Goffstown.

Playing career[edit]

He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 21st round of the 1940 NFL Draft and played eight years with the team, and also found time during the offseason to play semipro baseball. His real last name is "MacLean," and was changed because the press consistently misspelled it.

Common for the era, McLean played on both sides of the ball, catching 103 passes for over 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns, while also gaining 412 yards via the running game. On defense, he intercepted 18 opponent tosses, while his special teams work also sparkled with three punt returns for touchdowns, one an 89-yard dash against the crosstown Chicago Cardinals. In his final season in 1947, he also was the team's kicker.

Coaching career[edit]

Lewis College[edit]

On March 3, 1948, McLean signed a contract to serve as head coach of Lewis College in Lockport, Illinois, southwest of Chicago. To supplement his income during that first year, he also served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference. During his first two seasons at Lewis, McLean's teams completely dominated, outscoring opponents 548–80 while compiling a 14–2 record. In 1950, the school moved to the much stronger Midlands Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but McLean left after that campaign to become an assistant with the Packers in 1951.

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Working under second-year head coach Gene Ronzani, McLean watched the Packers struggle with a 3–9 mark in 1951, but then improved by three games the following year. However, after winning just twice in ten games in 1953, Ronzani was fired after a Thanksgiving Day loss at Detroit, with two games remaining.[2] McLean and fellow Packer assistant Hugh Devore completed the season as co-head coaches; Green Bay lost both road games in California to extend the season's losing streak to five games and finish at 2–9–1.

McLean was the only assistant retained in 1954 by new head coach Lisle Blackbourn and returned to his role as the backfield coach. The Packers won four games in 1954 and were a .500 team in 1955, but a 17–31 (.354) record over four seasons led to another coaching change in Green Bay after the 1957 season, their first in the new City Stadium (renamed Lambeau Field in 1965). On January 6, Blackbourn was fired and the 42-year-old McLean was immediately elevated to the top position for 1958, but with only a one-year contract.[3][4] Unfortunately, the team bottomed-out under his leadership, which included players deciding how they should discipline themselves. The Packers finished the season with a franchise-worst 1–10–1 (.125) record, with a roster laden with future All-Pro and hall of fame players. McLean's contract expired on December 31 and he resigned days after the conclusion of the season,[5][6][7] which opened the way for the hiring of Lombardi in January 1959.

Detroit Lions[edit]

McLean immediately found work as an assistant with the Detroit Lions,[6][8] under former Bears teammate George Wilson, and served in that role for the next five years. Wilson, his road roommate in Chicago, had offered the job a year earlier before McLean became the head coach.[5]

Death[edit]

Midway through the 1963 season, McLean entered an Ann Arbor hospital and was diagnosed with cancer; he died several months later at the age of 48, leaving a wife and four children.[1] He was buried in Michigan at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Novi.

McLean is also remembered as being one of the last players to perform a drop-kick, in 1941. It was more than six decades later before another occurrence was seen: New England Patriots' quarterback Doug Flutie kicked one against the Miami Dolphins at the end of the regular season on January 1, 2006. (The last time a drop kick was successfully attempted for a field goal was by Earl "Dutch" Clark.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "McLean, ex-Packer coach, dies". Milwaukee Sentinel. March 5, 1964. p. 2, part 2. 
  2. ^ "Ronzani out; aides handle Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. November 28, 1953. p. 3, part 2. 
  3. ^ Lea, Bud (January 7, 1958). "Liz out! McLean Packer coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  4. ^ "Blackbourn is fired; McLean new coach". Milwaukee Journal. January 7, 1958. p. 13, part 2. 
  5. ^ a b "Packers shake up front office; McLean quits, Detroit Lions next?". Milwaukee Journal. December 17, 1958. p. 18, part 2. 
  6. ^ a b "McLean quits, joins Lions staff". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 18, 1958. p. 8, part 2. 
  7. ^ "McLean quits Green Bay, accepts post with Detroit". Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. December 18, 1958. p. 12. 
  8. ^ Johnson, Chuck (December 18, 1958). "McLean quits Packers; all insist he was not 'pushed'". Milwaukee Journal. p. 18, part 2. 

External links[edit]