Steve McClain enters his ninth season as head coach at the University of Wyoming. In his eight previous seasons at the University of Wyoming, Steve McClain has led the Wyoming Basketball program through one of its most successful periods in school history. When you begin to list the accomplishments over the past eight seasons, one begins to realize how far the Cowboy Basketball program has come.
In four of the last eight seasons, Wyoming has 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. UW also advanced to the Second Round of the 1999 NIT and appeared in the 2001 NIT.
At the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, McClain's Cowboys came within one overtime period and four points of earning their third NCAA Tournament bid, as the Pokes took Mountain West Conference regular-season champion San Diego State to overtime in the MWC Championship Game before falling 64-69.
Coach McClain has posted the fifth highest winning percentage in school history -- 58.3 percent (140-100 record). His teams have averaged 17.5 wins per season through his first eight seasons.
In conference play, McClain's teams have captured two of the first seven MWC titles, sharing the title for the 2000-01 season and winning it outright in 2001-02. The back-to-back regular-season conference titles were the first since the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons. The outright title in 2001-02 was Wyoming's first outright championship in 20 years. Wyoming possesses a winning percentage of .530 (53-47 record) in Mountain West Conference regular-season games.
McClain has coached two All-Americans in his first eight years in Laramie. Josh Davis was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in his senior season of 2001-02. Prior to the 2002-03 season, Marcus Bailey was one of only 50 players nationally named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America team. Bailey tragically saw his senior season and his college career come to an end in the ninth game of that season in a win over South Carolina when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.
In five of the seven seasons that Steve McClain has coached in the Mountain West Conference, at least one Cowboy has been named First Team All-Mountain West Conference: Josh Davis (1999-2000 and 2000-01); Marcus Bailey (2000-01 and 2001-02); Uche Nsonwu-Amadi (2002-03); Donta Richardson (2002-03) and Jay Straight (2004-05).
The high point of the Cowboys' return to national prominence was Wyoming's appearance in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. It marked the school's first appearance since 1988. Wyoming's first round win over No. 6 ranked Gonzaga, 73-66, on March 14, 2002, was Wyoming's first NCAA Tournament win since March 14, 1987, when UW defeated No. 4 ranked UCLA, 78-68. With their first round win in the 2002 NCAA Tournament, the Pokes ended the season among the Top 32 teams in the country. For his outstanding coaching, McClain was selected the 2001-02 MWC Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches.
In the 2000-01 season, he earned Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors from CollegeInsider.com, and earned the same honor from MWC media members for the 1999-2000 season.
Wyoming won 18 games in McClain's first season, 19 his second year, 20 his third season, 22 his fourth and 21 his fifth. The three consecutive 20-win seasons marked the first time that had been accomplished since the 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88 campaigns.
His Wyoming squads have also been consistent contenders in the conference race during his tenure. UW has finished in the top half of the conference in six of McClain's eight seasons at UW.
During his first eight seasons, the Cowboys have defeated three Top 25 ranked opponents -- No. 20 TCU on Jan. 14, 1999; No. 24 Utah on Feb. 28, 2000; and No. 6 Gonzaga on March 14, 2002.
Heading into the 2000-01 season, ESPN Magazine's preseason issue listed McClain as a member of Dick Vitale's All-SportsCenter Team -- the five "Coaches Who Need Some PT on TV for more PR."
His 2001-02 Cowboy squad broke two of the nation's longest winning streaks. With its 73-66 win over No. 6 ranked Gonzaga in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, Wyoming broke Gonzaga's 14-game winning streak, which was a Gonzaga school record. Earlier in the year at Utah, the Cowboys 54-46 win in Salt Lake City broke Utah's 48-game home win streak against conference opponents, which was the longest conference winning streak in the country.
On April 22, 1998, Steve McClain became the 19th head basketball coach in the history of the University of Wyoming.
McClain, 43 (Aug. 15, 1962), is a native of Orient, Iowa. He is a 1984 graduate of Chadron State College. He is married to the former Kim Van Asselt of Hutchinson, Kan. On May 27, 2001, the McClains added a new member to their family with the birth of their first child, Dylan McClain.