Illinois-Chicago hires Indiana assistant McClain as coach

Steve McClain has nine years of prior head coaching experience to draw from in taking the top job at UIC.

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Illinois-Chicago has hired Indiana assistant Steve McClain as its head coach.

UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt said in a statement Monday that he is "looking forward to the Flames rising quickly" under McClain, who replaces the fired Howard Moore.

McClain has 33 years of college coaching experience and spent the past five seasons on Tom Crean’s staff at Indiana, helping the Hoosiers reach back-to-back Sweet 16s.

He also spent three years as an assistant at Colorado and nine as head coach at Wyoming, leading the program to a 157-115 record. The Cowboys reached the postseason four times and upset Gonzaga in the first round of the 2002 NCAA tournament.

"It was clear from my first meeting with Steve that he understood what it would take for UIC to return to the NCAA tournament," Schmidt’s statement said. "His energy, experience, attention to detail and thirst to win on so many levels moved him ahead of a very strong pool of candidates. He has great commitment to ensuring that our student-athletes experience success in classroom and life. His work with coaches Billy Tubbs, Jeff Bzdelik and Tom Crean along with his many local and national recruiting connections proved to me that he can bring excellence back to UIC."

Moore was fired two weeks ago after five seasons and a 49-111 record. Illinois-Chicago has had only one winning season since 2009; it reached the CBI tournament in 2012-13.