TriCounty No high school boys basketball coach in Illinois has ever had a start like Wayne McClain of Manual, for the second consecutive time named the Tri-County Male Coach of the Year by the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
In his first season as head coach after a long apprenticeship to Dick Van Scyoc, the state's winningest coach of all time, all McClain did was direct the Rams to a 32-2 record and a state championship, the second in a row for Manual.
And for an encore?
Manual was just as potent last season, going 31-1, was ranked the No. 1 team in the state all season and climaxed things by whipping Harvey Thornton for the second straight time to again win the state title.
Which means McClain is two-for-two in the search for the most coveted state trophy in basketball and Manual had won three consecutive state titles.
A former Ram player who also played one season at Bradley, McClain put teams on the floor, led by 6-foot-5 son Sergio McClain and 6-foot-9 Marcus Griffin, that boasted great firepower, strong rebounding and a style of play that was so intense it totally disrupted team after team.
For his first two seasons, McClain's teams went 63-3.
No high school boys basketball coach in Illinois has ever had a start like Wayne McClain of Manual, for the second consecutive time named the Tri-County Male Coach of the Year by the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
1948 Pekin Basketballl Team
Back row, left to right: Don Ehrett, Bill Nelson, Dave Skillman, Coach Lewis, Don Hannan, Herbie Raab, Jim Ennis.
The 1947 and 1948 Pekin Basketball Teams had many similarities at the time. Both teams were led by head coach Jim Lewis and assistant coach John Moss. Both teams won more games combined (59) in a two year period than any other Pekin teams at that time. Six players; Don Ehrett, Herb Gerecke, Howie Harris, Bert Van Horn, Chuck Busby, and Jay Nelson played on both squads that placed 4th in state in 1947 and 3rd in state in 1948. Both teams were their respective season’s Greater Peoria Conference Champs and were ranked in the top ten in the regular season basketball poll; #10 in 1947 and #1 in 1948. In 1948, Herb Gerecke was named to the Chicago Daily News all-state team and 6-2 senior, Chuck Busby (top vote getter), Bob Watson, Jay Nelson, and Herb Gerecke were voted to the all-state tournament squad.