Inductees Jack Brickhouse, in a remarkable career which has spanned 45 years and over 5,000 Major League baseball broadcasts, has received virtually every honor the broadcasting profession has to give, including the nation's "Best Sports Announcer" award by the American College of Radio Arts and Sciences.
A local product who was educated in the Peoria school system and at Bradley University, Brickhouse went on to great things at WMBD radio in Peoria before being hired by WGN in Chicago in 1940. He first gained prominence in broadcasting the games of Bradley's Famous Five in the late 1930s.
Brickhouse soon became the number one announcer of Chicago Cubs baseball before short stints in the United States Marines and as a broadcaster in New York. In 1947 he returned to Chicago where he broadcasted White Sox games from 1948 to 1967 and Cub games from 1948 through this past season -- in all, more than 5,000 broadcasts. And in the process he became Vice President and Manager of Sports at WGN, the leading independent station in America.
That number alone puts Brickhouse above most other broadcasters in America, but dedication and professionalism will be the reasons he will rank as one of the best in the history of athletics. Jack will always be remembered as a man who took pride in his roots and never forgot that Peoria and Bradley University gave him the start to a career which earned for him the respect of millions of sports fans.
Jack Brickhouse, in a remarkable career which has spanned 45 years and over 5,000 Major League baseball broadcasts, has received virtually every honor the broadcasting profession has to give, including the nation's "Best Sports Announcer" award by the American College of Radio Arts and Sciences.
A 1972 graduate of Peoria Manual High School and 1977 Bradley University graduate, McClain enjoyed a nationally-recognized basketball coaching career at both the prep and collegiate levels. Following 18 seasons as an assistant for Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Famer Dick Van Scyoc, culminating with the 1994 IHSA AA state championship, McClain succeeded Van Scyoc for the next seven seasons and led the Rams to the final three state titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997 during their unprecedented state championship four-peat. The 1997 USA Today National High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, McClain’s Rams were USA Today’s No. 1 ranked boys basketball team in the nation in 1996-97. The three-time (1995-96-97) Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, McClain led Manual to five straight Mid-State Conference championships from 1995 through 1999 and his teams advanced to the at least the Sweet 16 in the IHSA AA state tournament in each of his first five years. McClain joined the University of Illinois coaching staff in 2001 and helped the Illini to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the 2005 national championship game in St. Louis. Following one year as the director of student-athlete development for men’s basketball at Kansas State, McClain returned to high school basketball as the head coach at Champaign Central in 2013. He guided the Maroons to a 13-win improvement in his lone season on the bench before his untimely death in 2014.