CHAMPAIGN — One of the most successful boys' basketball coaches in state history will turn his attention to reviving the historically solid Champaign Central program.
Former University of Illinois assistant Wayne McClain — who coached Peoria Manual to three successive state championships in the 1990s — was hired Tuesday as the Maroons head coach.
McClain was an Illini assistant for 11 years and spent the past school year at Kansas State, working with Bruce Weber.
Weber said Central is getting more than a basketball coach who won more than 88 percent of his games during his first six years at Manual, where he replaced the legendary Dick Van Scyoc.
"I've had the good fortune to be with him the last 10 years," Weber said. "Obviously, he is a great basketball coach. His record proves that.
"Anyone who has been around him knows he is a better person. It's great for Champaign Central and the community to have him back. Everyone knows what they created at Peoria Manual, the winning culture there. I think he will bring that to Champaign."
McClain replaces Scott Davis, who resigned last month after 21 years as head coach.
Central athletic director John Woods said he received 44 "formal applications" and talked with nearly three dozen other candidates either by phone or through email.
Of that group, 10 were granted an interview. McClain was one of four to receive a second interview. Woods declined to name the other three finalists.
"One thing that stood out was that with Wayne's family in Champaign, he wants to come home and get back to the community he felt a part of when at Illinois," Woods said. "He is excited to be our seventh head coach in the past 90 years."