Jeremy McClain is a Division II guy.
He stated that this is what Missouri Western needs throughout his presentation Monday at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex.
McClain, one of four candidates for the Athletic Director job currently available at Western, said he wants to be a part of the Griffons and loves the division in which Western participates.
“Things that happen at Division II programs are a little bit different,” McClain said. “I’ve proven that programs I’ve been involved in have been successful. I think from a learning curve standpoint, I walk the walk.”
McClain was a Division II athlete at Delta State, where he is currently the AD. He said that D-II is entertaining just like Division I, but that the atmosphere is great because you can be a student athlete, as well as have the experience of being a part of the student body.
“Student-athletes have a unique opportunity to not only play high level, highly competitive, very entertaining college athletics, but to also be a better student.”
The Delta graduate said the key to recruiting as well as maintaining a great program is to have athletes that graduate. McClain stands behind his words, as the graduation rate at Delta has risen from 50 to 69 percent while he has been in charge. He says if Western can hold a steady 60 percent graduation rate, everybody will benefit.
“That’s a pretty lofty goal, but it can be done,” said McClain, who also stated it helps with recruiting when talking to parents. “[Recruitment] is the key to reaching that goal of 60 percent and reaching the goal of quality programs.”
Western is attractive to McClain because he likes the facilities, the campus and St. Joseph. McClain said Western is in great shape to move forward and build on success.
A former professional athlete, McClain was an All American baseball player at Delta. He said that if anybody asked about his legacy, Delta would be thankful for what he accomplished while there, as a student and a director.
“I would hope that people would say that we were successful,” McClain said. “That we won on the field and on the court. That our student athletes were treated fairly. That they were given resources they needed, the opportunity to be successful and that we graduated our student athletes.”
But overall, McClain said his student athletes were given an opportunity to succeed in sports and in the classroom because the budget was very well balanced.
“We are facing pretty difficult times, but it didn’t sacrifice what we provided for our student athletes, fans and our lives.”