UIC Men's Basketball Climbs Back To Relevance Under Steve McClain

Rick Gregg
April 10, 2018 - 10:08 pm
Steve McClain

Steve McClain (USA Today Sports)


CHICAGO (WBBM CHICAGO) -- On March 25, 2015, University of Illinois-Chicago introduced Steve McClain as its head men’s basketball coach. McClain introduced Chicago to his sometimes intense, often determined personality.

“I came here to win championships, to go to the NCAA Tournament,” he said on that day three years ago.  “And now I’m going to really step out on the line. Not just go. Let’s go win!”

McClain knew the Flames hadn’t gone to the Dance in 11 years, and knew they’d only won five Horizon League games in the previous two seasons. At least, he should have.

“I don’t know if I knew everything that day, I’d have said it that boldly,” McClain says today, after his first winning season as UIC’s coach. “I think we are getting closer to that point of, we’re going to be in the upper part of this league, we’re going to fight to be an NCAA Tournament team.”

He has good reason to feel that way. The Flames won 20 games, finished third in the conference, and while Loyola was basking in a Final Four run just a few miles away UIC streaked to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com tournament.

Once things calmed down, McClain shared pats on the back with Ramblers coach Porter Moser.

“Porter and me were texting,” says McClain, “and he congratulated us on our run, because he knows where I’m at in this process. I think it’s good for the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois that people are making noise in college basketball.”