Born January 28, 1938 in Upper Sandusky, Ohio
Graduate of Upper Sandusky High School, BS degree from Bowling Green State University ME degree from Bowling Green State University
Coached football at:
Crestline (Ohio) High School 1960;
Assistant at Bowling Green State University 1961;
Assistant at Cornell University 1962;
Assistant at Miami (Ohio) University 1963-66;
Assistant at Kansas 1967-68;
Assistant at Ohio State 1969-70;
Head coach at Ball State 1971-77; and
Head coach at University of Wisconsin-Madison 1978-85.
His record was 92 wins, 67 losses and 6 ties.
Dave McClain played his high school football at Upper Sandusky in Ohio. At Bowling Green State University he played both quarterback and safety on a team that went 45-5-4.
He started his coaching career at Crestline (Ohio) High School with an 8-1 record and then returned to Bowling Green as a graduate assistant in 1961, where he served as freshmen offensive coach under Doyt Perry (his father-in-law) and earned his Masters degree in education.
He then served as an assistant coach at Cornell University under Tom Harp in 1962, at Miami (Ohio) University under Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler from 1963-66, at Kansas under Pepper Rodgers from 1967-68, and at Ohio State under W.W. "Woody" Hayes from 1969-70 before accepting the head coaching job at Ball State. He coached seven seasons at the Muncie, Indiana campus and posted a 46-25-3 record. He was named Mid-American Conference "Coach of the Year" in 1975 following the Cardinals 9-2 season. His three-year MAC record of 13-4 included the 1976 conference championship.
In his first season with the Badgers in 1978, Dave became 'the first coach since Ivan Williamson, in 1949, to post a winning mark in his initial campaign. The 1978 Badgers opened with four straight wins and finished at 5-4-2, the first winning season since 1974. In 1981, Wisconsin was 7-5 including the first Bowl appearance for a Badger team since 1962. Their 6-3 Big Ten record was good for a third place tie, and included victories over national powers Michigan and Ohio State. In the Garden State Bowl, the Badgers were beaten by Tennessee 28-21.
In 1982, Dave became the first coach in Wisconsin history 'to guide the Badgers to back-to-back Bowl games and accomplished what no other Wisconsin coach was able to do - win a post season Bowl game. The Badgers won a 14-3 decision from Kansas State in the 1982 Independence Bowl to cap a second consecutive 7-5 season, which included the first victory over Ohio State in Columbus since 1918. In 1983, the Badgers posted their third consecutive seven-win season under McClain with a final mark of 7-4. Dave has served as an assistant coach in the Hula (1982) and Japan (1983) Bowl games, and was an assistant coach in the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, Alabama in 1983.
The Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award has been established by the WHSFCA in memory of Coach McClain. The practice facility at the University of Wisconsin has been named the McClain Center.
Tag(s): Hall of Fame