McClain: I wanted the chance to be in a program that could win a national championship

Steve McClain

When Steve McClain first met Tom Crean, Crean was recruiting McClain’s players. McClain was an assistant at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and Crean was an assistant at Western Kentucky coming to watch the talent at one of the most esteemed powerhouses in the junior college ranks.

Though their paths diverted widely, the two stayed in contact for almost two decades. When Crean came to McClain to speak to him about filling the vacant position on his coaching staff at Indiana, the then Colorado assistant coach was thrilled about the opportunity.

“I think the relationship Tom and me have had for a long time,” McClain said when asked what drew him to the job. “But also  the opportunity to be involved in a program that no question is one of the best in the country and the chance to be in a program that has a chance to win a national championship. And I think we have a legitimate opportunity to do that.”

When Crean first approached McClain, though, he still had a legitimate opportunity to become a head coach again. He had been coaching at Colorado for three years under Jeff Bzdelik and Bzdelik left for the head coaching job at Wake Forest. McClain was one of three finalists for the position. Crean apparently supported him while he vied for the job with the understanding that McClain would still have a chance to coach at Indiana if it didn’t work out.

“I think anytime you have an opportunity to have a head coaching job, you’d love to have it,” McClain said. “We invested three years in that program. I realize I was interviewing for Big 12 job. It was a great experience. I have no regrets, and Tom was good enough give me that opportunity to go ahead and pursue it.”

It didn’t work out. The Buffaloes hired Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle for the position, so McClain officially took the position at Indiana on Wednesday.

McClain thinks his new job is a perfect fit. He and Crean share most of the same opinions on offense and defense, he said. Offensively, he says teams need to have the ability to drive and kick and score inside. Defensively, he said, teams need to be able to rebound and be sound in man-to-man defense.

The Hoosiers obviously need work in several of those areas, but McClain believes he can help. With him, the IU staff will have two assistants, including Tim Buckley, that have been Division I head coaches, as McClain coached at Wyoming for nine years before his contract was terminated and he took the job at Colorado. He thinks that makes the IU staff unique.

“I think that dynamic gives us one of the best coaching staffs in the country,” McClain said. “Both Tim and I have been head coaches and Bennie (Seltzer) is going to be one soon. When you’ve sat in that seat you know what Tom is going through every day in practice. That makes it easier to help him.”

38 comments

  1. I love the hire. Coach McClain knows why he and CTC are here = win mutliple championships. Go Hoosiers.

  2. I think it will be good for IU and the basketball program. Two head coaches on same team and this guy as good talent that may just follow him to Indiana. Good luck and welcome to BTOWN.

  3. Terrible move Crean!!!! 4guards was right IU needs to fire you and I am going to protest every game till they do….

  4. Funny, I thought Husky Tom said he’d be back in a week…why would he post again so soon? I have a feeling he is the victim of an impersonator…maybe adumb, maybe 4tards…anyway, I am off to pitch a shutout vs. Baltimore, see you later…

    …great hire by the Hoosiers, BTW..

  5. Any good news helps at this point. It seems like he is very similar to Coach Crean with the high energy and desire to work. Hopefully this will help the entire staff get focused in on the upcoming recruiting classes in state.

    Not to bash McLeod but he was doing on the job training and it sounds like he had loyalty issues. Hopefully the IU staff is on the same page now and full speed ahead.

    If they can add a recruit or transfer in the next few days maybe they can start building some momentum.

  6. If the rumors are true that the guy recruited Kyrie Irving to Duke, then to hell with him. That’s just cheap and unprofessional.

    Mcclain looks solid. If he can have an entire team rooting for him to be the coach, he must be doing something popular.

  7. He shouldn’t have come to IU then because Crean can’t win. Fife would have been the right choice.

  8. You all’ made a growler and you couldn’t admit it. We have a good one here, much better than what four bards would have liked. Things go one direction, when you are positive, yes! they indeed do, captain Mike. So much for adam and his thang goin on here…I wish him luck…

  9. drive and kick. drive and kick. i’m so sick of drive and kick. and while we’re at it, you can throw out the never ending high post screen. we want old time basketball!

    the hanson brothers

  10. Crean definitely made the right choice on this. I knew he was the right guy for the job all along.

  11. 4guards make your mind up .Is he a good hire or not ? Would the real 4guards please identify yourself.
    Time will tell if this is a good hire or not

  12. Now let’s see if he can bring Alec Burks along with him. He may not help from a size perspective, but I sure wouldnt mind having the Big XII Freshman of the Year on the squad for 2011.

  13. This is the real 4guards and I think it was a mistake to hire this guy over Fife. I also think Crean doesn’t want Fife in here because when the heat comes down next season, Fife’s name would be coming up a lot for his job.
    Now this post will be followed with 10 more from some immature person using 4guards trying to ruin the scoop ……

  14. Okay the impersonations of 4guards were amusing for a while, but enough already! Let the guy have his opinion, everyone’s entitled to that.

  15. Welcome Coach McClain to IU and Bloomington. You will love it here! The goal is to win 20 in 2010-11. We have some very good talent. But now we have to DO IT!

  16. it is sad that a guy has such a negative attitude for so long that other people use his name so much that we do not know what is his and what is not his. I have never seen anything like it to this extent. It is truly sad!

  17. The impersonator most likely wants to water Scoop down with a “one name” system. Probably someone that wants to turn it into a product like Inside the Hall. Sad that Korman is being pushed into a corner.

  18. The McClain hire makes great sense after reflecting on the dismissal of RM took place before the seasons even ended.

  19. The impersonator is obviously someone that Korman has a great deal of admiration. I think it’s Husky Tom. He dare not ban Husky Tom..They both share highly liberal points of view..They trade their hoes and probalbly go on baby watermelon shopping trips together to Trader Joe’s ..I don’t think Cluster Tom is taking a short hianus to treat his grouping of posterior protrusions as he earlier claimed…I think he’s still on the blog doing everything he can to remove the one giant growth on Scoop.

    Do you know where Tom gets all of his news stories? It’s not as I always thought..It’s not the Huffington Post ..It’s Rhoiders.

  20. I believe it is Peeping Tom as well… thought it was clarion or Chet at first. He obviously didn’t take the week off because he made a post earlier in his name.

  21. I often thought Chet was Cluster Tom…Maybe just his Dukie of Hazard soulmate from Ashville, NC(left-wing capithole of the United States) Someday they’ll form their own Yacht Club on a pond in the back of Vanderbilt’s Mansion.

    Nice talkin’ with you 4guards..You’re fun when not putting Crean in a guillotine.

  22. The impersonator is wasting far more time than I.

    Hot off the Press: NCAA HAS EXPANDED MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT! Maybe we’ll get in…?

  23. Good pick Crean, Bad pick McClain. Wanted a chance to win a national Championship, Hahaha Its gonna be a long time.

  24. My brother has lived in Cheyenne, WY for 27 of the past 32 years and since he retired from the USAF in 2000 has been a season basketball ticket holder @ Wyoming. I e-mailed him about this hire, here’s his response: “Crean’s in for a shock. McClain can’t recruit, has no offense and we couldn’t inbound the ball against a press. The teams he won with were recruited by his predecessor. We went downhill each year. There were also off court issues. It was recently revealed we didn’t graduate a player during his tenure.” Is that what we want for Indiana Basketball? Not to graduate a player in nine years? What is this, Crean’s Norm Ellenberger hire? What recruiting ties does he have to the Midwest after spending the last 10+ years in WY & CO?

  25. March 12, 2007

    LARAMIE, Wyo. –

    University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced today that the contract of head men’s coach Steve McClain has been terminated, effective immediately.

    “The University of Wyoming appreciates Steve’s service here,” Burman said. “We will conduct a national search for his replacement immediately. I am confident our program will attract a pool of outstanding coaching candidates.”

    McClain’s contract was to extend through the 2009-2010 season. Under terms of that contract, UW will pay him a total of $380,000 for the remaining three years, Burman said.

    McClain was hired as Wyoming’s 19th head basketball coach on April 22, 1998. In nine seasons with the Cowboys, he posted an overall record of 157-115, and a 67-63 mark in conference play. His team was 17-15 this season, and 7-9 in league play for fifth place.

    McClain finished his career ranked fourth on Wyoming’s career wins list. Since the 2003-04 season, however, the Cowboys posted a 57-63 overall record, and a 23-37 mark in MWC play.

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