As head coach of the Tigers, McClendon led LSU to a 137-59-7 overall mark during his 18 years in Baton Rouge. In his first season as head coach of the Tigers, McClendon guided LSU to a 9-1-1 overall record, which included a 13-0 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Over his 18-year coaching span, the Tigers played in 13 bowl games and won the 1970 SEC title. In all, LSU had 16 winning seasons under McClendon, which included six 9-win seasons and 11 years in which the Tigers won at least eight games. His career winning percentage was .692.
McClendon coached 21 first team All-Americas with the Tigers and he also had a total of 56 first team All-SEC selections. McClendon was named SEC Coach of the Year twice, in 1969 and 1970, and he was also named National Coach of the Year in 1970 after leading the Tigers to a 9-3 overall mark and a perfect 5-0 record in SEC action.
McClendon was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1986 and he's also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
McClendon played for Bryant at Kentucky for two years in 1949 and 1950 and he started his coaching career with the Wildcats a year later as a graduate assistant. McClendon then coached at Vanderbilt for the 1952 season before joining the LSU staff in 1953. McClendon served as an assistant coach at LSU for nine seasons, including the national championship season in 1958, before being elevated to head coach in 1962.