Dana McLemore is Centurians #22

About how he wanted Dana McLemore to be a CB, George Lumpkin (who played CB for UH and then was UH’s CB coach) said:
“I made sure no one else saw the film of him running with the ball. His coach said he was the best player he’d ever had, in 15 or 20 years of coaching — on offense and defense. Nobody (from UH) knew he was as good on offense as defense except for me. I kept that one a secret.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “It eventually got out, but Lumpkin did not lose his best player. Instead, McLemore became one of the Rainbows’ best all-time players at two positions: cornerback and punt returner.”

About how being a CB and returning punts was too much for him, McLemore said:
“I’d always done that since Pop Warner, when I was 9 years old.” (HSB)

About how McLemore was reliable catching punts, Bob Wagner said:
“We were looking at two or three other guys. We charted them, and even though Dana had an awkward catching motion, he caught everything.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “That first year when the job was his, he returned kicks for TDs against New Mexico and Santa Clara. The momentum-turner against the Lobos was a key to the 6-5 Rainbows finishing with a winning record.

MCLEMORE CONTINUED to improve with the entire Rainbows team in 1980 and 1981, as UH went a combined 17-5. He was to the defense what Gary Allen was to the offense, the small but dynamic star.”

About how the 13-3 loss to BYU snapped their 11-game winning streak and cost them their national ranking, McLemore said:
“Oh, I definitely think we made a difference. From my freshman class, four guys got drafted. We set the standard, we were ranked for the first time in something like 34 years.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “THE PHONE RANG at 2 a.m. “Mr. McLemore, this is the New York Jets.” He’d dealt out his share of practical jokes over the years, so he could take one. Dana McLemore went back to sleep. The real call came a few hours later. At first, it made him wish the first one had been real. It was from the San Francisco 49ers.”

About being drafted by the 49ers when they were deep at the DB position (Ronnie Lott, Carlton Williamson, Eric Wright, Dwight Hicks, etc.) and coming off a Super Bowl win, McLemore thought to himself:
“How am I going to make this team as a 10th round pick?” (HSB)

McLemore then remembered:
“I’m a return guy, too.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “McLemore thrived his first three years — a punt return touchdown each season, and he ran back kickoffs, too. He also worked his way into that crowded secondary at times, intercepting five career passes, taking one back all the way. He played six seasons, nearly all with the 49ers.

Now he lives in San Mateo, Calif., with his wife, Karyn, and children, Mailey, 9, and Daylin, 7 (“You’ll hear from him in 10 years,” says Dad). Eldest son DeFrance, 22, is a pilot for Continental.”

About his job, McLemore said:
“I sell electrical supplies; we’re hanging in there. Consolidated Electrical Distributors.” (HSB)

Crediting George Lumpkin for his success, McLemore said:
“I got recruited by the Oregon schools, UNLV, and I felt most comfortable with George Lumpkin. I grew up without a dad, and he was like a father figure to me. He really cares about young athletes. He made sure we had summer jobs, was always there to help us. But he was always there to make sure we did the right things, too. He made sure we went to class and study hall. He made my college days a lot better.” (HSB)



%d bloggers like this: