McClain, Barta Look To Future of Cowboy Basketball

March 13, 2006


Following a Sunday evening annual review, University of Wyoming Athletics Director Gary Barta said that he is confident Head Basketball Coach Steve McClain, who has four years remaining on his current contract, will steer the Cowboy program back to prominence.

Each UW Intercollegiate Athletics coach is reviewed at season's end by either Barta, or the specific sport's supervisor. Attention was focused on Barta's review of McClain because the coach's future had been the subject of much conjecture last week during the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

"First, we are extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches, and fans for what Wyoming accomplished at the conference tournament," Barta said. "That's the kind of Cowboy basketball we expect and love.

"It was a great week for Wyoming basketball in the Pepsi Center, but it was a difficult one away from the court," Barta continued. "What made it so difficult was the media speculation regarding Steve's future at Wyoming. That speculation led to a firestorm of talk regarding his status. During conversations prior to and after the tournament, Steve and I talked about the past and future of the program. During those conversations, termination was never discussed. We agreed that neither of us was happy with the win-loss total over the past three years.

In eight seasons at Wyoming, McClain has produced a record of 140-100. During four of those seasons, his teams have appeared in postseason play. The Pokes advanced to the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, and the second round of the 2003 National Invitation Tournament.

"I've enjoyed being the coach at Wyoming these past eight years," McClain said. "I know that in this business, as head coach I, am measured, ultimately, by wins and losses. I was very proud of our players and what we accomplished last week at the Mountain West Tournament. I have never doubted my ability to coach and lead the Cowboys successfully. I know how hard our coaches and players have worked for this program. We will continue to work hard, and already are looking forward to next year."

In conference play, McClain's Cowboys have captured two of the first seven MWC titles. Six of his eight teams have finished fourth or higher in conference regular-season play. He is a two-time MWC Coach of the Year.

McClain, 43, became the 19th head basketball coach in the history of the University of Wyoming, on April 22, 1998.

"In our meeting, we reviewed every aspect of the Cowboy program," Barta said. "While there is work to be done, I am confident that because of Steve's demonstrated ability to win at Wyoming; the great potential of the young men in the program, as well as those committed to joining the program; the passion the coaches and student-athletes have for Cowboy basketball; and Steve's commitment to the state and the university, this program can return to where we all want it, and expect it to be."