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Former Manual Coach Wayne Mcclain Dies at 60

McClain Wayne McClain, one of Peoria’s greatest basketball coaching icons, died at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 60.

​McClain graduated f​rom Bradley in 1977, playing one year of varsity ball as a reserve guard in the 1974-75 season.

After spending 18 years as coach Dick Van Scyoc’s assistant at Peoria’s Manual High School and helping the Rams to the 1994 Class AA state championship, McClain took over the head coaching job of his high school alma mater (Class of ’72) upon Van Scyoc’s retirement. McClain would coach Manual to three consecutive Class AA state championships in his first three seasons as a head coach, posting a record of 94-5 from 1994-97. His third title completed Manual’s four-peat, which was the first in Illinois basketball history.


McClain was named Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year in each of the three state-winning seasons and was selected as the USA Today National High School Coach of the Year in 1997. That season, USA Today ranked Manual No. 1 in the nation.  The next two seasons, the Rams advanced to Sweet 16 appearances and continued their Mid-State 6 title run under McClain to five in a row. His seven-year coaching record at Manual was a sparkling 177-35, a winning percentage of .835.


Current Manual coach Derrick Booth stressed McClain’s impact off the court. The 1991 McClain Manual grad was a player for the Rams when McClain was an assistant under Dick Van Scyoc.  Booth says he and other former players echo the same sentiments about McClain: They talk more about how he affected where they are today in life even more so than the state championships.  “One of the things I took from coach McClain was that he wasn’t only a basketball coach, but he was a great mentor, a great example, a great role model,” Booth said. “He was one of the coaches that inspired me to go into coaching.”

A Memorial Service for Coach Wayne McClain will be on Friday, October 24th at 5pm at Manual High School in Peoria, IL.