The Champaign News-Gazette recently asked fans and former University of Illinois athletes what the top priority should be for whomever the school hires as athletic director.
Here’s guessing the newspaper didn’t expect the answer it got from former Illini basketball player Sergio McClain, who apparently has seen enough of the struggling basketball program.
And here’s guessing McClain won’t get the job he is campaigning for with all the subtlety of a jackhammer.
“Easy,’’ he said. “Quit ignoring and hire me as the head coach of my alma mater. I truly bleed those colors. And if you feel there is inexperience — which there really isn’t because I’m my father’s son and have been taught the ropes; Illinois won conference ’ships when the McClains were in office and that’s a fact — put experience around me that I can trust.
“… No assistant coaching job. Head. I hold the key to the Illinois pipelines when it comes to recruiting, plain and simple. It’s time, whether you’re ready for me to lead or not. If they pass on me, they will regret it in the long run. No ill will intended; I just know I’m the best out there.’’
McClain played for Illinois from 1997-2001, while his father, Wayne, was an assistant coach there. Sergio McClain has coached minor-league, junior-college and high-school basketball.
Oh, yeah, this: John Groce is still the Illini’s head coach.
“Know this: In this era of great players across the nation, fathers and mothers are from my generation,’’ McClain said, referring to high-school recruiting. “They either played with me or against me and my father. One thing is for certain: My character and name carry a level of respect and trust with them that can never be severed. To get to the father’s kingdom, you must go through the son.’’