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Peoria legend, Illini star McClain to coach Swarm

By Craig Fata, 11/01/16, 10:30AM CDT


"Mr. Basketball" won four straight HS titles, reached Elite 8 with Illinois


November 1, 2016

ST. LOUIS – A player who led Peoria Manual High School to four straight state championships and the University of Illinois to a top overall NCAA tournament seed and an Elite 8 appearance has been named the head coach of the Midwest Professional Basketball Association’s Champaign Swarm.

Sergio McClain has agreed to helm the Swarm for the 2017 season, set to begin in January.

“I’m looking forward to working with a credible league, the Champaign Swarm organization, and my supporters in the Champaign community,” said McClain. “This is a great opportunity and fit as far as pursuing my career goals. But I’m most excited about teaching the tools and work ethic these athletes will need both on the court and in the community with kids and other service groups to help make them successful.”

“Sergio will bring toughness and grit, I have no doubt,” said fellow Peoria legend A.J. Guyton, director of basketball personnel and associate commissioner for the MPBA. “He will bring a competitive team to Champaign, and because he’s already coached in the minor leagues, the transition should be seamless. I believe he will take full opportunity to be a head coach at this level once again.”

McClain led Manual to an unprecedented four straight Illinois state basketball titles from 1994-1997 playing for his venerable father Wayne, earning prestigious Illinois “Mr. Basketball” honors as a senior in 1997, when he averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

McClain then started 80 games over the next four years under Lon Kruger and Bill Self in Champaign, helping his team to a pair of Big Ten championships, and an Elite Eight appearance as a senior in 2001. Following his career at Illinois, McClain played in the NBA Development League and at the semi-pro level. He then stepped into coaching, directing Parkland College in Champaign for one year in 2008.

Four years later, McClain became an assistant under his father at Champaign Central, and then took over the program on an interim basis after his father’s sudden death in 2014.

PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Wan / Peoria Journal-Star