Known as the man who will always stop the bus to pick up someone who was running that late morning, Glean McClain is the university’s friendly StagBus driver who can be seen donning his iconic hat and jacket and greet students with a bright smile and cheery conversation.
But who is this happy-go-lucky man behind the wheel?
McClain, who started driving the StagBus five years ago, explained that he enjoys his job for the joy of working with students.
“The students are very polite and respectful,” he said. “Some of them have attitude, but I’d say 90 percent of them are good.”
When asked about the most rewarding part of his job, McClain spoke of some of his favorite memories of driving the StagBus.
For example, after the StagBus stops running, McClain will go back to pick up students who have missed the bus at night. This, according to him, is always rewarding.
“I go back and get them because I know that they’re running late. They don’t have a ride back, and they always thank me. That makes me feel good. It always makes my day, to pick them up late.”
McClain also loves picking up students when it is cold out, or after they walk up the hill. It always makes him happy to help students in these ways.
“I treat them like they’re my own kids. My kids go to college, and I treat these kids the way I want people to treat my kids.”
He also spoke on how appreciative most students are. McClain sometimes receives Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards from parents who have been told of his kindness by their children.
McClain also reflected on the funnier moments of driving the StagBus, such as when students fall asleep and miss their stops and he takes them back.
“You should sleep in the front next time so I can see you!” McClain said he told the snoozing students.
It is not just Fairfield students that McClain has stories about, though; he also coaches Pop Warner basketball and football in Bridgeport in his free time, so he spends a lot of time with Bridgeport kids.
In 1965, McClain and a few other guys started Pop Warner basketball and football in Bridgeport, a youth sports league with an emphasis on teamwork and a respect for education. He has been coaching ever since. His dedication to letting the kids play is evident.
“I make sure the kids do their homework and stay out of trouble,” he explained, “because they have to have a C average to play. I check on paperwork all the time.”
McClain, who will be 61 next week, intends to retire four years from now. He spoke on the difficulty of finding a job at his age after losing his job of 35 years. However, “Coach Glean,” as he is called by his Pop Warner team members, is quite happy here.
“Dattco and Fairfield University gave me the opportunity to drive for them, and I appreciate that. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the kids … I enjoy making sure the kids stay safe, and taking them back and forth to classes, bringing them downtown and stuff.”