Sam Clancy Sr. gets his flowers…Honored with street renaming in the Hill District

SAM CLANCY SR., center, at a ceremony renaming a street, “SAM CLANCY WAY,” in the Hill District, June 24. Among those pictured is PITTSBURGH Mayor Ed Gainey, far right. (PHOTO BY ASHLEY G. WOODSON)

City Council declared Saturday, June 24, 2023, “Sam Clancy Day” in the City of Pittsburgh. The homegrown, legendary athlete had received a proclamation at the City-County Building days earlier presented by Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle. Family, friends and all members of City Council were in attendance.

But the real big day was June 24, as Uptown 2.0 presented a “Street Renaming for Sam Clancy Sr.” at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Roberts Street, in the Hill District. Andre Hilliard, Mark Kerr, Joey Diven and Uptown 2.0 put the ceremony together for Clancy, in the neighborhood where he grew up. Uptown 2.0 is also responsible for getting a street renamed for Brashear High School and West Virginia University star football player Major Harris in 2022, also in the Hill. 

“You have to mention Sam Clancy when it comes to being one of the greatest athletes that ever came from the Hill District because his achievements speak for itself,” Hilliard told the New Pittsburgh Courier.

Eugene Khorey, former principal at Brashear High School, reminisced about the good old days at Brashear with Sam “Bam” Clancy.


“Everyone knew Sam at Brashear because that’s the influence he had,” Khorey said. “It was Sam that was able to move with the student body and say to them, ‘I’m one of you.’ With his engagement and personality, he permeated the whole school. As I repeat, everybody knew Sam and only half of the people knew me. I give Sam the most credit for making Brashear High School a success.”


In fact, Clancy was a basketball star before there even was a Brashear High School. Clancy played at Fifth Avenue High School, leading the team to a state championship as a junior in 1976. When Fifth Avenue closed, Clancy went to the newly-minted Brashear and was a member of its first graduating class in 1977.

Clancy was a four-year starter at Pitt from 1977-81, averaging 14.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Clancy is the only Pitt basketball player to score more than 1,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds in a career.

Clancy was drafted into the NBA and the NFL; the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. After playing one season of professional basketball in the Continental Basketball Association, Clancy made the permanent move to football, playing 12 professional seasons. Clancy played with Seattle, Cleveland and Indianapolis in the NFL, and with the Pittsburgh Maulers and Memphis Showboats of the USFL. Clancy was on those Cleveland Browns teams that made it to two AFC Championship Games in the late 1980s, while the Steelers were “finding themselves” with the likes of Mark Malone and Bubby Brister at quarterback.

Uptown 2.0 member Andre Hilliard, Sam “Bam” Clancy Sr., Joey Divens and Uptown 2.0 member Mark Kerr are the ones responsible for putting the celebration together

Clancy returned to Pitt in 2005 to complete a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. He served as a football strength and conditioning assistant for three seasons before transitioning to the administrative side of collegiate athletics with the Pitt Varsity Letter Club, according to a release from Pitt. Clancy is now in his 14th year directing the Varsity Letter Club, responsible for athletics alumni relations, engagement and connecting alumni with current Pitt student-athletes.



The University of Pittsburgh came out to the Hill to thank Clancy for his dedication and hard work over the years.

“I’ve been working with Mr. Sam ‘Bam’ Clancy for the last 15 years. We all know the tremendous impact he’s had in the community and at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Penny Semaia, the senior associate athletic director at the university.  “What I want to share is what we see right now. Just look around and see all of the wonderful, beautiful people that are here. Everyone knows Sam from his time at the USFL, Pitt, NFL, and the NBA. (But) everyone (also) knows Sam because of his heart. Sam’s heart is what makes him so blessed and honored. On behalf of the University of Pittsburgh Pitt Athletics, we just want to thank you for all you’ve done for us and the community.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey started his comments off with, “Good afternoon H-I-double-L! There are a lot of things that we can say about Mr. Clancy. One is that he never left the neighborhood. A lot of people get that money and they’re gone. He stayed here to pour into the youth of our city and the Hill District. Today is a very special day because we get to honor you and say thank you. For every child that is here, I want you to see what hard work and dedication looks like. Especially those that come from the same neighborhood you come from. He came up when times were more difficult than what you have today. They kept telling him he couldn’t make it and now he’s here. He’s almost like the rapper Drake, ‘Started from the bottom, now we’re here.’”

Clancy comes from a huge family that is well-known in the Hill District, which includes the Clancy and Williams families. Two of his cousins, Markique Harris and Carmela Williams-Reese, spoke very highly of Clancy and his accomplishments.

“I’m humbly grateful that my cousin entrusted me to help with his street renaming,” Harris told the Courier. “As a family we’re proud of this momentous achievement and thankful for the outpour of support. It was a great feeling to be able to give him his flowers. Congrats ‘Fave.’”

Reese said: He (Clancy) has been a role model for all his family, especially the younger ones. It should be noted that we are a close-knit family, with lots of love. Sam is such a humble man. He has never let his success change him into someone he was not. He was born and raised in the lower part of the Hill District at Bedford and Roberts. He never forgot where his foundation began and where he came him. He is definitely an icon of the H-I-double-L. We love him dearly and are proud to be his family. Love you Sammy!”

Clancy was overcome with emotion and grateful to everyone who put the event together. He humbly let everyone know that this historic moment was for everyone, not just him. 

“This isn’t about Sam Clancy, but it’s about the Hill District. It’s about the love that you’ve shown me my whole life,” Clancy said, as hundreds looked on. “It wasn’t just me because I didn’t do this by myself. I have teammates here right now. Puffy Kennedy and I went to elementary and high school together so we’ve been through the fire our whole life. When I met these guys in high school, that’s when my life changed. It was a community that raised all of us and all of you are a part of me. I wish my mom and dad were here. My dad was quiet, but you know my mom (would be) talking trash by telling you how she was going to block the street off because her son’s name is on it. If you knew my mom, then you know she didn’t hold back. There are so many people I can thank because Puffy and I have been together, and then there’s Warnie Macklin, Edwin Peoples and Bill Clark and we all became one. I was a young brother in high school playing in the adult league with ‘Rev. Junk Head’ and many others. I’ve learned a lot from everyone and I don’t take it for granted. I love you guys, my family, the community and the University of Pittsburgh because you’ve given me so much.”








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