That pretty much sums up the priorities laid out for the male Marist student-athlete in no uncertain terms.
Welcome to the Marist prep sports experience.
“Full throttle — we’re trying to go hard in every aspect,” said War Eagles basketball coach Greg McClaire.
He signed up for this … all of it.
Since taking the reins of the varsity hoops program seven years ago, McClaire has by all appearances held up his end of the pact that calls for him to act as part-steward to the next generation(s) of Marist hoopsters.
Count reinforcing the institutional mandate that his players hit the books as a primary facet of his job description. The lengthy paper trail of scholarships and acceptance letters from premier colleges and universities during McClaire’s time at the helm is evidence of that.
War Eagles bigs Quinton Stephens (Georgia Tech, basketball) and Greg Taboada (Stanford football) and David Onuorah (Cornell) are but the latest in a long line of athletic alumni going on to bigger and better in some capacity.
“It’s a good time over here at Marist … just a good situation,” said McClaire. “It’s not something that I started … kids have [gone on institutions of higher learning] before I got here.”
McClaire, a former Academic All-American and international pro, took over Marist basketball for Ron Bell, whose legendary tenure spanned three decades.
Aside from the aforementioned classroom expectations, the program’s on-court standards have also been maintained to a high degree.
The War Eagles have remained competitive under McClaire — including yet another deep postseason run for a program that does not “recruit,” or stockpile talented players who don’t meet the school’s rigorous academic code.
“Yes, there is that immediate gratification … guys want to win championships,” said McClaire. “We also want the 50-year plan taken care of, too.
“So many kids I’ve coached have moved on to medical school, law school [and the like] … After the air comes out of that ball, as a coach, you want your players to be on the right path.”