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.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.