Nate Clay was a 1958 graduate of Central High School, Clay was a three sport standout playing basketball, football and running track. He turned down a football scholarship to SIU-C because he wanted to play basketball. He went to Centralia Junior College (now Kaskaskia) and played basketball for Coach Chuck Mundell and received All-Conference Honors. Nate also played baseball and even played tennis when a player was needed. From Kaskaskia he went to McKendree College (now McKendree University) and played basketball under Coach James Oldfield a former Centralian.
He left after that first season to go to work for Ford Motor Co. in Indianapolis, IN. A few years later, Clay returned to McKendree and captained the basketball team for first-year coach, Harry Statham, and graduated in 1967. In the 1970’s and early 80’s, he had a sports talk show and did sports reports for the local radio station WILY/WRXX. He coached girl’s softball for four years and a co-ed team for another four years; never having a losing season.
He wrote his life story in a book titled “THE NATE CLAY STORY” published in 1977 and he wrote poetry with his poem “THIS MOMENT, ” published in “Today’s Greatest Poems”. The Blue Devil Basketball Team named their defensive award for Clay. In 1979 McKendree College established the “Nate Clay Award” which is presented annually to a basketball player showing courage, determination and inspiration.
NateClay passed away on July 3, 2001, and was inducted posthumously into the McKendree Sports Hall Fame in 2004.