Steve McClelland has seen a lot of firsts at Georgia Southern University – the first football game played in 1982 under the helm of former coach Erk Russell; the first home game played in the newly-constructed Paulson Stadium; and he is quite likely one of the first True Blue fans. After attending the Paulson Stadium opener, McClelland claims to have fallen down, and started bleeding Georgia Southern blue.
As an undergraduate, McClelland was an active member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi (business fraternity), and worked as a disc jockey for campus radio station WVGS 91.9. He recalled the start of his True Blue heritage, which occurred when the stadium construction began. “I lived about half a mile from the stadium, and it was an amazing thing to watch. I’ve seen Georgia Southern go from a little bitty college to a big-time University. It was exciting just being able to attend the first game and the first season at Statesboro High, and watch history in the making,” he said.
Even though McClelland currently lives in the Atlanta, Ga., area, it’s almost like he never left Statesboro. The 1985 Georgia Southern University business management graduate has dedicated two basement rooms in his Chastain Park area home that display his undying loyalty toward the Eagles. Enter “The Nest” – as McClelland calls his domain – and it’s like heaven to any Georgia Southern football fan.
Inside “The Nest” are more than 1,000 pieces of Georgia Southern sports memorabilia that could easily catapult McClelland to a spot on the Guinness World Records list. For starters, he possesses every artist’s print of Georgia Southern ever produced (in the range of 50), with images of eagles, Paulson Stadium, Erk Russell and more. Adorning the walls and ceiling are approximately 75 car tags, including the first Southern Boosters tag from 1985, more than 15 Georgia Southern flags, bar stools autographed by Russell, former coach Paul Johnson and quarterback Tracy Ham. Also included in the collection, by McClelland’s best guess, is “every magnet that has ever been made, and every pocket football calendar for the past 30 years.”
The custom-designed ping-pong table resembles Hanner Fieldhouse, and for McClelland’s birthday, his wife Brenda commissioned an artist to construct a football field on the surface of the pool table, complete with end zones to replicate Paulson Stadium. Take a short detour out of “The Nest,” step inside his closet and you are likely to find more than 100 Georgia Southern shirts. For a personal tour of “The Nest,” which was captured when McClelland was named a Georgia Southern Fan O’Maniac, click on the following link:
When McClelland isn’t traveling to Statesboro with Brenda and their “boys” – a pair of four-year-old Golden retrievers appropriately named Georgia and Southern – he works as a financial consultant for AXA Advisors, a career he began with the company one week after graduation. McClelland’s continued support of the University includes service on the boards of the Atlanta Eagle Club and Georgia Southern Alumni.