Crean confirms Steve McClain will be new assistant

  • 04/21/2010 4:46 pm in

The search for the vacant assistant coach position is over.

Indiana head coach Tom Crean confirmed Wednesday afternoon to multiple media outlets that former Colorado associate head coach Steve McClain will join the IU staff.

According to Dustin Dopirak of The Herald-Times, McClain could be announced at a press conference in Bloomington on Friday.

Former IU assistant Roshown McLeod, who was fired prior to the last week of the season, was recently named the new head coach at St. Benedict’s High in New Jersey.

The full press release issued by IU is available after the jump:

Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean has announced that Steve McClain, who boasts more than 28 years of coaching experience on the collegiate level, has joined the Hoosiers staff as an assistant coach, effective immediately.

“It means a lot to me to be able to bring in someone with the knowledge, experience and aggressiveness of Steve McClain,” said Crean.  “I have admired him for how hard he works and for how hard his teams, especially at Wyoming, played.  He brings a toughness to our program that has shown in those who have played for him, and he carries that same mindset over into recruiting.”

McClain comes to IU after spending three seasons at Colorado, including the last two as associate head coach.  During his time there, he played a prominent role in rebuilding the CU program and served as acting head coach during the absence of head coach Jeff Bzdelik for a portion of last season which saw CU finishing 15-16, including seven losses by six points or less.  In addition, junior guard Cory Higgins earned All-Big XII honors and freshman guard Alec Burks was named Big XII Freshman of the Year.

“I am excited to have the chance to walk into a building with five banners and be a part of a program that believes that what is on the front of the chest means much more than what is on the back of the jersey,” McClain added.  “That is what college basketball is all about.”

During his career as a coach, he has worked firsthand with several players who went on to play with or were drafted by NBA teams, including Kurt Thomas and Lee Nailon at TCU, Justin Williams and Josh Davis at Wyoming, Ben Davis and Shaun Vandiver at Hutchinson CC, and Harvey Grant at Independence CC.

“He has had a huge part in the development of so many outstanding players and we are excited to get him started with our program,” noted Crean.  “He has hit the ground running in his first day on the job and with as much energy as I like to have, he brings that and then some. Indiana basketball is very fortunate to have him here.”

Prior to his time in Boulder, the 1984 graduate of Chadron State College served as the 19th head coach at the University of Wyoming from 1998-2007. For nine seasons, McClain led the Cowboy program through one of its most successful periods in school history, posting the fifth highest winning percentage in school history (57.7 percent) and achieving a 157-115 record, averaging 17 wins per season through his nine years.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to work with Tom and this staff,” said McClain. “Our philosophies are exactly on the same page in terms of how you ought to play and the toughness it takes to win a championship. Whether it’s what you do in the office or what you do on the court that day, how you go about things determines how quickly you can reach that goal and Tom and I share the same beliefs.”

In four of his nine seasons, Wyoming appeared in postseason play, advancing to the second round in each of the 1999, 2002 (NCAA) and 2003 seasons. They also played in the first round of the 2001 NIT.  In conference play, McClain’s teams captured two of the first seven Mountain West Conference titles, sharing the title for the 2000-01 season and winning it outright in 2001-02. The outright title in 2001-02 was Wyoming’s first outright championship in 20 years.  Overall, the Cowboys finished in the upper half of the league in six of McClain’s nine seasons.

McClain, 47, coached two All-Americans during his stint Laramie. Josh Davis was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in his senior season of 2001-02. Prior to the 2002-03 season, Marcus Bailey was one of only 50 players nationally named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America team.
In five of the nine seasons that McClain coached in the MWC, at least one Cowboy earned All-Mountain West Conference first-team honors: Josh Davis (1999-2000 and 2000-01); Marcus Bailey (2000-01 and 2001-02); Uche Nsonwu-Amadi (2002-03); Donta Richardson (2002-03) and Jay Straight (2004-05).

The high point of the Cowboys’ return to national prominence was Wyoming’s appearance in the 2002 NCAA Tournament, marking the school’s first appearance since 1988. It was in that season that McClain engineered one of his best Cowboy teams, earning Coach of the Year honors from his fellow coaches, winning a school-best 22 victories (the most since 1987-88) and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

His 2001-02 Cowboy squad broke two of the nation’s longest winning streaks. With its 73-66 win over No. 6 Gonzaga in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, Wyoming broke the Bulldogs 14-game winning streak, a then-school record. Earlier in the year at Utah, the Cowboys defeated the Utes 54-46, breaking Utah’s 48-game home win streak against conference opponents, which was the longest conference winning streak in the country.

In the 2000-01 season, McClain earned Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors from, and garnered the same honor from MWC media members for the 1999-2000 season.

McClain and his Wyoming teams won 18 or more games five times with a trio of consecutive 20-win seasons from 2000-2003, marking the first time three straight 20-win seasons had been accomplished in 15 years on the Laramie campus.

Also during his nine seasons, the Cowboys defeated three Top-25 ranked opponents — No. 20 TCU on Jan. 14, 1999; No. 24 Utah on Feb. 28, 2000; and No. 6 Gonzaga on March 14, 2002.

His Wyoming squads were consistent contenders in the conference race during his tenure. UW finished in the top half of the conference in six of McClain’s nine seasons there.

Prior to his head coaching experience in Wyoming, McClain was an assistant at Texas A&M in 1998, then served as an assistant coach at Texas Christian University from 1994-98. While at TCU, McClain helped lead the Horned Frogs to a Top-25 ranking an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998 under head coach Billy Tubbs.  During his tenure there, Nailon became just the third player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same season.

The year prior to Tubbs’ staff taking over in Fort Worth, TCU posted a record of 7-20. Three years later, the Horned Frogs posted a 22-13 record, advanced to the Championship Game of the 1997 Western Athletic Conference Tournament and played their way into the Second Round of the National Invitation Tournament. In 1998, TCU joined the elite programs in the country, posting a 27-6 record and leading the nation in scoring at 97.2 points per game.

The Horned Frogs earned an NCAA Tournament bid in 1998, and ended the season ranked No. 15 in the final Associated Press poll. TCU also became the first team in Western Athletic Conference history to go undefeated in league play, posting a 14-0 record in 1998 on way to winning the WAC Pacific Division title.

Not only did McClain enjoy success as an assistant coach, but also he brought to Wyoming an outstanding record as a head coach. In 1994 as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan., he won the National Junior College Championship in only his third season, and was named the National Junior College Coach of the Year.

At the junior-college level, McClain compiled a 91-16 (.850) record in three seasons, and his teams were known as high-scoring squads. His 1994 National Championship team averaged 90 points per game on way to a 35-4 (.897) record. In 1992-93, the Hutch Dragons compiled a 29-5 (.853) record, averaged 92.6 points and ended the season ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA. His first season as head coach, 1991-92, Hutchinson posted a 27-7 (.794) record.

Prior to becoming head coach at Hutchinson, McClain served as an assistant coach there for five seasons, helping guide the Dragons to the 1988 NJCAA National Championship. Before coaching at Hutchinson, he was also an assistant coach at Independence Community College in Independence, Kan. (1985); Sioux Empire Junior College in Iowa (1984); and his alma mater Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb. from 1982-84.

“I know growing up in the Midwest, I understand the importance of Indiana basketball and what it means to an entire state,” added McClain.  “Having brought a team to Bloomington while I was at Wyoming, I have experienced firsthand the passion of the fans and their interest in everything that goes on with the Hoosiers.  Having known Tom a long time as a colleague and friend, it is a great opportunity for me to come in and be able to help them rebuild this great program.”

Born August 15, 1962, McClain is a native of Orient, Iowa, and is married to the former Kim Van Asselt of Hutchinson, Kan. They are the parents of a son, Dylan (8).

“We have had a friendship for many years and loyalty and trust is the cornerstone of any relationship,” said Crean.  “We know that Steve will add to what already is an outstanding staff.”

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  • GBR

    Is it me or does he look a little bit like Shooter from the movie “Hoosiers”. Welcome to the family coach.

  • JohnS

    Didn’t you know, since Knight’s tenure, IU has never recruited anyone from Kentucky!

  • I don't know much about McClain, so won't really address my comments towards him specifically, but I think the move from McLeod in general is a good one.

    It sounded great to have a former Duke standout, NBA player and connected AAU coach, but this program is so young right now and needs experience. IU needs a basketball coach that not only knows and understands the college game, but has experience teaching it, and from what we've read it sounds like McClain fits that bill where McLeod probably didn't.

  • BFowler

    I guess I am wondering about two things, 1 – why was he passed over for the big chair? Was it time for a change of all the staff? Did he not want it? 2 – Will McLeod's hiring at St. Benedict's negatively affect our recruiting in that area?

  • Uncle Joey

    Now with the hiring of McClain brings about the next question: “Where will Alec Burks end up?”

    Alex, what do you think our odds are with this kid? I've read online that he seemed very attached to McClain. I've also heard that he is a projected first round lottery pick in the near future, so he may not be extremely willing to sit out an entire year… he may end up just staying at CO.

  • GFDave

    I doubt we're gonna get many kids in McLeod's sphere of influence, but Crean seems to be developing relationships with people in DC and Baltimore, so we'll be ok on the east coast, but maybe not Jersey.

  • Outoftheloop

    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!

  • Outoftheloop

    We might get 1/100 from Northern NJ, but then we have NEVER had a top recruit from there anyway! FL, the South, Memphis, the greater DC area, the basketball “prep” schools anywhere and “our home turff” of IN, IL, OH, MI and KY are where we need to be strong!

  • marsh21

    I hope he's a great recruiter because I'm not sure his head coaching experience is going pay big dividends with our program. Crean is the head coach and everyone will follow his lead. Assistant coaching is 70% recruiting and establishing relationships and 30% coaching.

    I thought they should get someone with great Indiana/midwest ties but what do I know… We need solid players so I hope this guy can do it.

    Also noticed in the release Crean mentioned loyalty and trust which was another sign of something very negative with RM…? I wonder if we will ever find out what happened?

  • Kelin Blab

    BFowler….we got a DC connection in Mr. Boncore…that worked out real well….

  • Kelin Blab

    Ok so the Elephant in the room is…….Will he bring his Frosh of the year with him, who has already said two things….He wish Coach McClain would have gotten the job and he is definitely leaving Colorodo…..If he did he would gain some good graces already as we prepare for a 2011 NCAA appearance.

    Our 2011 Class….Etherington, A.Thomas, J.Davis, Alec Burks (transfer), and Zeller…Top 5 class.

  • Uncle Joey

    As awesome as that would be, you'd need 4 transfers to make that happen.

    According to Rick Bozich, the Colorado papers have speculated that Alec Burks “could follow McClain to Bloomington.” Of course, speculation is just that… speculation. But its still exciting to think about our chances.

    Here's the link:

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrongo! Sampson had the commitment of Bud Mackey before the Kentucky court ordered him to jail, then we switched to Holloway who went to Xavier

  • Taskmaster75

    He's staying. According to several sources, all the Colorado players are staying. The NBA was apparently never an option for Burks.

  • Uncle Joey

    Yeah, I just read this. Bummer.

  • Taskmaster75

    Hey Alex, is there any truth to the rumor that Macleod recruited Kyrie Irving to Duke rather than Indiana? That just sounds too cheap for anyone to do……

    Thanks if you have any clarification.

  • Indiana_Knight

    20?! I think 14-17 is realistic, 20 would require extraordinary improvement from all of our freshmen… no sophomore slumps anywhere… a full, quick recovery for Creek… and probably a soft OOC as well…

  • marcusgresham

    Monte Marcaccini….oh, wait, I get your point

    Seriously, though, I'd like to keep an influence in the Texas and California areas, too, because both are loaded

  • marcusgresham

    IU was on Ge-Lawn Guyn for a while, too

  • marcusgresham

    I was thinking a blond version of Larry from “Newhart”

  • GFDave

    I agree.

  • GFDave

    Our DC connection to DeMatha seems very promising.

  • West Coast Hoosier

    The Duke Basketball Report says:

    “Roshown McLeod Update!
    by DBR, April 21st, 2010 | Alumni |

    Former Duke star Roshown McLeod, recently fired at Indiana, basically for not landing Kyrie Irving and insufficiently tapping into the New Jersey high school talent market, has found a new job: he’s taking over for Danny Hurley at St. Benedict’s. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next time Tom Crean is out on a recruiting visit in New Jersey.”

  • I didn't read the entire article, but I think saying McLeod got fired simply for not delivering Kyrie Irving is probably over simplifying what actually happened.

  • JerryCT

    Provided he can fit in w Selzer and Buckley I think this is a good move

  • plane1972

    Another interesting tidbit is that he succeeded Joby Wright at Wyoming. Just a fun fact to know and tell.

  • Outoftheloop

    NO! Burks stays at Colorado.

  • Outoftheloop

    Stop! Assistant Coaches do almost 100% of the INDIVIDUAL workouts to develop the particular player's game to its Max. We need this big time-especially for our Bigs!

  • Outoftheloop

    I respectfully disagree! Creek should be All-Big 10. Watford and Elston will be outstanding next year. If Jones, who is a proven player, can handle the point 50% of the time, with Hulls, who also proved himself, the other 50% (with Rivers for defense and athletic ability as a backup), then the question is Bawa at center with Capo and Pritchard backing him up. Since we only saw Bawa for 62 min in 31 games, and NEVER playing with first team personnel, NO ONE, not even the coaches KNOWS what he can do in a game! But Bawa is 7' tall, he can run, he can jump, he is long, he was ranked #111 by Rivals, by the first game next season he will have been on campus for over a year and the “coaching-up” should be well underway. If we DO NOT see “extraordinary improvement” over last season with Bawa, then we have a serious “coaching” issue! We need to win 20 now! We now have good talent, experienced players at every position, some good athletic Freshmen and the team should be hungry for some major “payback” for the last 2 years! I want to SEE Weber cry in Assembly Hall next year! I want to smile at Painter as he suffers a big loss in Bloomington next year! I want to finally beat Bo Rien! I want Thad Matta to HATE to play at IU! Let's win some games now! No excuses!

  • Outoftheloop


  • Outoftheloop

    The end of the rumor that Duke Grads have high intelligence. Now if they had “confirmed” that McLeod had steered Irving to Duke while working at IU, that would be news. I have no reason to say such a thing and neither of the parties has ever said such a thing. But no Assistant Coach is fired for not getting a top recruit. Further, Crean did use the word “loyalty” more than once.

  • Indiana_Knight

    All big-10 from Creek? I don't know how likely it is that Creek even plays early on in the season and like I said, he's coming off a serious knee injury. I wouldn't be surprised to see him lack total confidence in that knee early on in the season. Think about Peyton's return from a minor injury in 2008, or Tom Brady's major knee injury last season. And then remember that they play quarterback and stress their knees much, much less than an explosive shooting guard like Mo Creek. Sure, he could bounce back quick and surprise but… I don't think it's very likely. All-big 10 is… selective… only 4 guards will make it. I'd like to see him accomplish that, but SHOULD is a stretch to say the least considering that he's still rehabbing that knee as we speak.

    Watford and Elston should both be more confident, and much stronger next season. I'm excited to see their improvement. Jones, of course, had a great summer last year and I hope he has another. I actually just saw him around campus earlier this week, dapped him up and he said he's been working hard (Not inside info, what else would he say?).

    Seeing as we only saw Bawa for 62 minutes, how exactly do we gauge what extraordinary improvement would be? We don't know what Bawa can do, but I think the coaches have some idea. If he hasn't done well enough in practice against our team, a team that lacks depth, then he's not ready. Now, I'm not certain if that's the case but neither are you so what would quantify extraordinary improvement. Maybe 4ppg and 4rpg would be extraordinary improvement for Bawa at this point. There's no way that either of us can say.

    The only significant player we have that had to live through that 6 win season is Verdell. Our sophomores will have had an unusual amount of time on the floor, but I think you might be overselling them, as talented as I think they are I think 20 wins is a longshot that will require a lot of things falling our way and a Big Ten Tournament run… Again, I think 14-17 is a better “expected” number. There's a fair amount of turnover around the league, which could help us, but the teams that lose the most junior/senior talent (Ohio St., maybe Purdue [depending on JJ], Illinois) also have studly classes coming in. And Mich St will likely be even better…

  • Outoftheloop

    All of your points could be correct, OR none of them. Neither of us knows the future. I like mine better. Sometime in March 2010 we will both know the answers. “FREE BAWA, GO IU!”