Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Trust Big Factor in Hiring McClain
In the end, it was about trust and loyalty. It was about Tom Crean hiring an assistant coach he KNOWS will have his back when things get tough, as they certainly will in the on-going quest to restore Indiana’s basketball glory.
So Crean went with Steve McClain, lately of Colorado, previously at Wyoming and Hutchinson Junior College, a proven winner over a 28-year period.
Along the way Crean passed on IPFW coach Dane Fife, a former IU standout.
“It means a lot to me to bring in someone with the knowledge, experience and aggressiveness of Steve McClain,” Crean said in a university release. “I have admired him for how hard he works and how hard his teams, especially at Wyoming, played. He brings a toughness to our program and he carries that same mindset over into recruiting.”
Recruiting, of course, is crucial in the Hoosiers’ rebuilding process and how good a recruiter McClain is remains uncertain. A recruit won’t care that McClain helped a rebuilding Colorado go 15-16 last season, or that he went 157-115 in nine years at Wyoming or that he won a national junior college title at Hutchinson.
But the fact that McClain worked with several players who either played or were drafted by NBA teams, including Kurt Thomas and Lee Nailon of TCU, Justin Williams and Josh Davis of Wyoming, Ben Davis and Shaun Vandiver at Hutchinson and Harvey Grant at Independence Community College.
“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 said. “That is what college basketball is all about.”
Added Crean: “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. 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.”
It will be even more fortunate if elite high school players start signing with the Hoosiers.
“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,” McClain said.
McClain replaces Roshown McLeod, who was let go late in the season. McLeod was just named head coach at St. Benedicts Prep in New Jersey.