BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Union football team has produced a number of stellar running backs capable of creating highlight material at any given moment. With any long line of success, there is always a starting point. And line of great Bulldog running backs began with Clarence Mackey, who is being inducted into the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mackey will be formally inducted into the Union Athletic Hall of Fame during the Alumni Awards Dinner and Ceremony on Oct. 5 during the school's Homecoming festivities.
A three-year member of the Bulldogs, Mackey became the first to rush for a 1,000 yards in a career and then became the first to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
While his career rushing record last only three years, Mackey's single-season record lasted for 15 years and his single-season scoring record stood for 17 years.
Mackey only seemed to get better with each carry, each game and each season. In his first season in 1991, he carried the ball only 128 times but averaged 5.3 yards per rush in accumulating 686 yards –which still ranks as 13th-best rushing season in program history.
In 1992, Mackey nearly posted the first 1,000-yard rushing season as he galloped for 978 yards and 11 touchdowns. Averaging 5.2 yards per carry, Mackey helped Union to an 8-2 record and its first-ever Mid-South Conference championship.
The Bulldogs did not have the banner year in 1993 they enjoyed the previous season, but it was not because of Mackey. All he did was rush for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns – both school records at the time. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 1993, which also was a school record and has only been bested twice since.
A two-time First Team All-Mid-South Conference selection, Mackey finished his career with 2,822 career yards and 28 touchdowns. He currently ranks third all-time in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns. His career 5.4-yards-per-carry average is also third best among those with over 1,000 yards.
In addition to playing football, Mackey was a resident assistant of a dorm and worked in the cafeteria. He also visited and spoke at high schools and started a book club at Union.
The Mackey legacy continued at Union years later when his sons, Sean and Cornelius, became Bulldogs. Cornelius, like his dad, was a part of a history-making team as he was a freshman on the 2008 squad which went 9-3 and made the program's first NAIA Football Championship Series appearance.
Twenty years after his final game as a Bulldog, Mackey's fingerprints remain all over the record book. It is only fitting he take his rightful place in the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame.
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