McClain lobbies for job

By Matt Stacionis

Newly-hired head coach Rob Judson and Wayne McClain have a good relationship.

McClain, who is the head coach at Peoria Manuel High School, has worked with Judson to send three starters to the University of Illinois. Included in that group is McClain’s son Sergio and Big Ten Player of the Year Frank Williams.

It is possible that McClain might come to NIU as an assistant to Judson. McClain said he would be interested in the job but did not want to take away any of the attention from the Illini, who are now in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

“I think that Jud and I have the best relationship,” said McClain, who was 147-13 with two state championships in his first five seasons at Manuel. “We developed it through Bradley. We have a friendly off-court relationship. When the time comes, I think that is going to be there. After the dust settles with Illinois, then we’ll sit down and talk.”

Rock Valley head coach Carl Armato, who was mentioned in the search for the head coaching job, is another possibility for an NIU assistant. His team recently finished seventh in the country in the NJCAA tournament. Both he and McClain have been the only two names mentioned as possible assistants.

It is likely that Judson, who will make $140,000 per year, will name his assistants shortly after Illinois is finished at the NCAA tournament.

“They’re in the midst of their program and in the middle of a run at the NCAA,” McClain said. “It’s just an added distraction that their program doesn’t need right now. I’m sure Jud and I will sit down and get down to business.”