Weber Adds McClain, Promotes Lowery on Staff

K-State head coach Bruce Weber has promoted Chris Lowery to associate head coach.

Oct. 3, 2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber finalized his coaching staff on Wednesday with the addition of veteran high school and college coach Wayne McClain as director of student-athlete development.

McClain comes to K-State after spending the last 11 years coaching at Illinois, including the last nine under Weber.  During his time, the Fighting Illini posted 235 wins on a .685 winning percentage and advanced to the NCAA Tournament nine times, including a trip to the national championship game in 2005.  He was the longest tenured assistant coach in the Big Ten Conference until he left the school this past year.

McClain is the eighth member of Weber’s coaching staff at K-State, which includes assistants Chris Lowery, Alvin Brooks III and Chester Frazier, director of operations Brad Korn, video coordinator Drew Speraw and strength coach Jimmy PriceEric Rodriguez and Dustin Yoder are the graduate assistants.

“Obviously, I have a lot of familiarity with Wayne from our time at Illinois,” said Weber.  “He is one of the most successful coaches in the history of Illinois basketball at both the high school and college levels.  With a staff as young as ours, I wanted to add someone with significant knowledge and experience who would be a mentor to them as they grow in the profession.  He has also coached a lot of great players and will be a great resource for our players.”

In addition to the hiring of McClain, Weber also announced that Lowery has been elevated to associate head coach.  The first staff member hired on April 2, Lowery is in his third stint with Weber after serving as his assistant coach for two seasons at Southern Illinois (2001-03) and one season at Illinois (2003-04).  He recently spent eight years (2004-12) as the head coach at his alma mater, Southern Illinois, where he posted a 145-116 (.556) record with four postseason appearances, two Missouri Valley Conference Championships and one State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title.

“We are very fortunate to have someone like Chris on staff,” said Weber.  “He has not only been a Division I head coach before, but also a very successful one.  It is very important to have someone like that on staff and essential to the players to have a veteran voice like his when I’m not around.  He has already been a huge asset to me as we build this program.”

In his position as director of student-athlete development, McClain will be responsible for a variety of areas, including basketball-related matters, handling special projects for the coaching staff and assisting with personnel development and recruiting.  In addition, McClain will be involved in the Life Skills program and counseling student-athletes in career planning and goal setting.

McClain joined the staff at Illinois under then head coach Bill Self in 2002 after a distinguished 25-year coaching stint (1977-2001) at Manual High School in Peoria, Ill., including seven years (1995-2001) as head coach.  The 1997 USA Today National High School Coach of the Year, McClain led the Rams to a 94-5 (.950) record and three consecutive AA state championships (1995, 1996 and 1997) in his first three years as head coach. 

His 1997 squad, which was led by son Sergio McClain, Marcus Griffin and Frank Williams, was named the National High School Champions by USA Today after posting a 31-1 overall record.  A three-time all-state selection, the younger McClain was named the 1997 Illinois Mr. Basketball and, in 2007, was elected as one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys’ Basketball Tournament.  In addition to his three state titles, the elder McClain also guided the Rams to Sweet 16 appearances in the AA state tournament in 1998 and 1999 as well as Midstate Six Conference titles in each of his first five years.  He was named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

McClain coached a number of players who went onto play collegiately, including four who played at Illinois.  His son, Sergio, who helped the Fighting Illini to two Big Ten titles from 1998 to 2001, played on all four Manual state championship squads (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997).  Griffin, Williams and Jerry Hester also played for Illinois.

McClain began his high school coaching career at Manual in 1977, serving as an assistant coach to the legendary Dick Van Scyoc for 18 years until being named head coach in 1995.  McClain helped the Rams to the first of four consecutive state titles in 1994.  His teaching career included teaching at the sixth grade level, teaching high school physical education and as Manual High School Dean of Students.

McClain earned a master’s degree in physical education from Illinois State University in 1982 while teaching at Manual.

In addition to son, Sergio, McClain also has a daughter, Brindeshie.  She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois.  He also has a grandson, Sergio, Jr.

The Wildcats begin team practice on Friday, October 12. 

Season tickets are currently on sale for K-State’s 18-game home schedule at Bramlage Coliseum.  Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221-CATS (2287), online at and in-person at the ticket office.  Prices remain the same for 2012-13.