UIC hires McClain as men's basketball coach
After helping rebuild Indiana's basketball program, Steve McClain has been hired as Illinois-Chicago's 11th head men's basketball coach. school officials announced Monday.
McClain, a former head coach at Wyoming with 33 years of collegiate coaching experience, joins UIC after serving as associate head coach at Indiana University under Tom Crean the last five seasons.
"It was clear from my first meeting with Steve that he understood what it would take for UIC to return to the NCAA Tournament," said UIC Athletic Director Jim Schmidt. "His energy, experience, attention to detail and thirst to win on so many levels moved him ahead of a very strong pool of candidates.
Schmidt also said he was impressed with McClain's work with coaches Billy Tubbs, Jeff Bzdelik and Crean, as well as his recruiting connections.
McClain, whose hiring must still be approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, was promoted to associate head coach before the 2012-13 campaign.
"The past five years with Steve McClain have been nothing short of remarkable," Crean said in a statement. "Steve came at a time when we were still very much in the rebuilding stage and helped us push through the barriers and challenges to reach many great things. Steve's tenacity, teaching and ability to build relationships and recruit are second only to his unyielding work ethic and energy."
Bzdelik, a former NBA and college head coach and now assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, also praised the decision.
"As a proud alum, I could not be more excited for the future of UIC basketball under the direction of Steve McClain," said Bzdelik, a Prospect High School grad. "Coach McClain is relentless, energetic and driven for success. His positive energy will create an immediate impact."
McClain is a native of Orient, Iowa. He and his wife Kim have a 12-year-old son, Dylan.