AUBURN — Lee-Scott Academy’s newest athletics hire, Clay McCall, has had a lot of mentors throughout his 31 years working in the Alabama school system.
McCall was hired back at the end of April as Lee-Scott’s executive director of athletics. He started his career at Auburn High as a coach in 1994, where he later served stints as assistant principal and athletic director. He has 13 years of experience as a football and track coach including 2001-03 at Plainview High School in North Alabama, and he most recently served as AD at Bob Jones High School in Madison, AL.
But among all the positions he’s held, places he’s been and lessons learned, there’s one mantra that stands above all: “Live where your feet are.”
“The gentleman who gave that advice was actually my father, who I worked with at Auburn High. His name was Bill McCall,” McCall said. “My dad passed away in 2001, but he was a great mentor. My dad believed in building relationships and standing by those, treating people how you want to be treated, but pushing them to a different level in whatever they’re trying to do.”
Following his father’s advice is what McCall feels is his calling at Lee-Scott – the place his feet are now.
His feet have led him back home. After over 20 years total at Auburn High, he retired from teaching and coaching in the state of Alabama in 2019 and since took a job at Harris County, Georgia. But in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his family felt a calling to return home to Auburn to be closer to family. Auburn is where McCall and his wife of 26 years, Michele, raised their two daughters, Raegan and Mallory, and he called the Auburn-Opelika area “an incredible place to live.”
“This is home. I’ll just go ahead and say that,” McCall said. “To be able to move back home – I truly feel like the Lord is opening doors for me to continue to be a better father and husband for my family.”
His move to Lee-Scott has allowed him to rekindle some old friendships he made while at Auburn High, but he also said he’s formed some new ones and already seen what a tight-knit family the staff at Lee-Scott is. Even as he did this interview five days after he began working at Lee-Scott, he’s already felt that it’s a perfect fit.
While McCall is cherishing his days in early June at the school, he is also anticipating the excitement and challenges that the Warriors will face when they begin competing in AHSAA 3A at the beginning of the upcoming school year.
Boys basketball coach, William Johnson, will continue as the school’s AD, and girls basketball coach – Corye Harrison – will continue as assistant AD. The addition of McCall as executive director of athletics adds experience and expertise to help guide them through the transition.
“Having been in Alabama for over 30 years and being involved, I’ve been blessed to create a lot of great relationships – not only through coaching – but also through the Alabama High School Athletic Association,” McCall pointed out. “There’s been a bit of change [in the AHSAA] with new executive director, Mr. Heath Harmon, which I think he’ll do a great job. He comes very highly qualified, and I’ve heard about the good things he did at Oxford High when he was the principal there.
“I’m hoping my background will help ease some of the challenges as we go into this (transition). We’re looking forward to it. I think it’ll be something good for all of us here, and I think it’ll create a lot of excitement starting this fall.”
In his first week on the job, McCall reflects that same excitement and anticipation in his latest opportunity to honor the memory of his father by doing his job to the best of his abilities. His end goal is to serve those around him – his family, his co-workers, the students at Lee-Scott and even his opponents.
“Obviously, I’m involved in athletics, and it’s my passion. It’s what I love,” McCall said. “But I’m here to serve, and I will serve in any capacity that I need to.”