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Published: Saturday, 5/24/2008

Successful freshman boss elevated to varsity

McClure McClure

Keith McClure knows he has some big shoes to fill as the new boys basketball coach at Libbey, but the nine-year veteran of the Cowboys' staff is ready for the challenge.

McClure, 42, replaces his mentor, Leroy Bates, who posted a 252-114 record over 16 seasons. McClure was a volunteer assistant for two seasons (1999-2001) and was the Cowboys freshman coach the last seven years.

His 2007-08 freshman squad went 19-0 and won a City League title, and his 2004-05 team also won a freshman title.

"I'm looking forward to it," said McClure, a 1985 Macomber graduate who played point guard for the Macmen. "I've been loyal to the program and I've been waiting for an opportunity to coach varsity. It's always been a dream of mine."

McClure's primary employment is as a service representative for the copier manufacturer, Ricoh.

"I've got real big shoes to fill, and all I can do is try to build on what coach Bates has established here," McClure said.

"I always admired his fairness with the kids and the way he treated them, on and off the court."

McClure has an opportunity to bring the promising freshman group up through the varsity ranks.

"We'll be working with some good kids," he said.

"They'll be young for the next couple years, but we'll be competitive."

Libbey athletic director John Snyder is pleased with the choice of the school's athletic committee.

"Keith has been around here since 2000 and he's won City [freshman] championships," Snyder said.

"But, more important than that, he's a great guy.

"He has been extremely loyal, he knows the kids and he knows the program. He's going to be a great addition, and he will keep the program going in the [right] direction."

Bates closed his run at Libbey by guiding the Cowboys to a 24-3 record and state runner-up finish in Division II in March. His teams played in eight City League championship games, winning three titles (2000, 2007, 2008). His 2000 squad won the D-I state poll championship with a 20-0 regular-season record before finishing 25-1 with a loss in the state semifinals.

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