Plenty of Illinois fans have concerns over the present and future state of the basketball program, what with the Illini sitting at 10-10 and potentially missing the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.
Solutions are hard to come by, but one former Illini thinks he has one: himself.
Sergio McClain, who played at Illinois for Lon Kruger and Bill Self from 1997 to 2001, told the Champaign News-Gazette that the first act of whoever becomes the new athletics director in Champaign should be to hire him as the head men's basketball coach.
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"Easy. Quit ignoring and hire me as the head coach of my alma mater. I truly bleed those colors. And if you feel there is inexperience — which there really isn't because I'm my father's son and have been taught the ropes; Illinois won conference 'ships when the McClains were in office and that's a fact — put experience around me that I can trust, like you're doing with Dee Brown in administration.
"No assistant coaching job. Head. I hold the key to the Illinois pipelines when it comes to recruiting, plain and simple. It's time, whether you're ready for me to lead or not. If they pass on me, they will regret it in the long run. No ill will intended; I just know I'm the best out there.
"You can't use Central as a measuring stick. I wasn't supported by the administration, nor the majority of the parents whose kids played because I was about building a program and it not being a recreation center.
"Know this: In this era of great players across the nation, fathers and mothers are from my generation. They either played with me or against me and my father. One thing is for certain: My character and name carry a level of respect and trust with them that can never be severed. To get to the father's kingdom, you must go through the son."
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McClain certainly has passion for his alma mater, but the line "if they pass on me, they will regret it in the long run" raises some eyebrows.
McClain's father, Wayne, was a successful high school coach in Peoria and served as a longtime assistant on the staffs of Self and Bruce Weber for 10 seasons at Illinois. He joined Self's staff after Sergio's playing days were over and stayed on once Self left for Kansas, coaching alongside Weber for his entire tenure and his first year at Kansas State.
Sergio McClain has minimal coaching experience, coaching briefly at Parkland College, Champaign Central High School and in a couple small basketball leagues.
While he played at Illinois, the Illini won two regular-season Big Ten titles and made three NCAA tournament appearances, including one trip to the Elite Eight.