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Jim LeClair, ND football star


Award-winning NFL player James “Jim” LeClair was born on Oct. 30, 1950, in St. Paul, Minn. He was an outstanding football player and wrestler at South St. Paul High School in 1966-1968.

LeClair went on to play at the University of Minnesota-Crookston from 1968-1969. While there, the football team won the Minn. Junior College League’s Northern Conference title. He was also named to the NCJAA All-Region and All-Minn. football teams.

He was captain of the 1969 team that finished second in the conference, and the team was named to the Minn. State JC All-Conf team for two consecutive years. LeClair was also named the Most Valuable Player in 1971.

While attending UMC, LeClair earned an Associate’s in Science degree and was an outstanding wrestler, holding a 25-2 record in the 190-pound division. He was also the team captain and ranked first in the conference and fourth in the nation during the 1970-1971 season.

LeClair transferred to the University of N. Dak. in 1970. During his two years at UND, he was selected All-America linebacker in 1971 and two times as North Central All-Conference player. He was also the League’s most valuable defensive lineman in 1971.

While at UND, LeClair earned a Bachelor’s in Science degree in education and was captain of the football team.

In the third round pick of the 1972 NFL draft, LeClair was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals. In his 12 seasons with the Bengals, from 1972-1983, he led in tackles four times and was selected for the 1976 Pro-Bowl. LeClair also had the tremendous experience of playing in the 1981 Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49’ers.

In 1984, LeClair signed as a linebacker with the New Jersey Generals, a team owned by Donald Trump, spending two years with the Generals.

After a successful NFL career, LeClair returned to N. Dak. as head coach at Mayville State University from 1986-1988. He was mayor of Mayville and owns LeClair Moore and Associates, a financial planning and insurance firm in Mayville.

This year, LeClair signed on as a part-time football coach UMC.

He has received many honors and awards over the years, including induction into the 1984 USFL All-Star, 1985 UND Athletic Hall of Fame, 1999 UMC Athletic Hall of Fame, 2006 National College Football Hall of Fame and 2007 South St. Paul High School Athletic Hall of Fame inaugural class.LeClair and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children.

by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.