Tuesday, May 12, 2015
alfred mcclain with student

Currently lives in: Boston

Please share highlights of your career or occupational experiences.
I have more than 30 years of proven experience mentoring at risk youth in progressive, goal-oriented environments, program director and accomplished basketball player, responsible for implementing community based sports and recreation programs emphasizing sportsmanship, physical fitness, cultural awareness and positive self-image. I've created a developmental basketball program in partnership with Boston public schools and Boston Community Centers for Youth and Families. The program promotes collaboration and understanding across diverse ethnic groups and provides remedial academic support to students age 7-18. I work directly with teachers and school administrators to implement educational and behavioral plans for student-athletes. The program teaches skills development and self-discipline, and has led to a countless amount of students to receive scholarships to Division I, II and III colleges for basketball. Several program participants have also reached the professional level playing in the NBA, and professional oversees.

What are the overall highlights and/or life achievements you've had since graduating?
All-time leading scorer, NBA draft pick Houston Rockets, 1984; Sports Hall of Fame inductee, 1994

What were some of your accomplishments as a student here at UNH?
1980 'Rookie of the Year,' the best freshman in the America Northeast League.

What is one of your favorite UNH Memories?
In 1980, my coach, Gerry Friel, gave me the most memorable motivational speech I've ever heard. It was during a tournament we played in Western Kentucky that featured No. 1 Louisville and a great team, Tulane University. We were losing at halftime to Tulane University and their great player John Williams (who had a great career in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers). We were sitting in the locker room with the team, and there was a loud noise, and suddenly Coach Gerry Friel was sliding through the door head first, and arms spread wide yelling "What are you doing, wake up!" We returned to the court trailing 15 points, and we started an amazing comeback and hit two free-throws to win the game, and I was named to the All-Tournament Team.

What is one of your very most unique UNH memories or experiences?
During my freshman year of college I spoke to students in passing and I rarely received a simple hello, but I never took it personally, and I knew it was because of race. When basketball season started the students were more than friendly, and if I would run across any of the young kids in Durham they would constantly ask for my autograph.

Who were your role models and mentors while here at UNH, and how did it impact your life?
My childhood mentor Mr. Warren, a Boston public school teacher; Mr. Roscoe at the Boys and Girls club and Boston public schools, and co-founder of the Boston Shoot-Out; Chris Smith a successful businessman; Walt Frazier, my idol and mentor, New York Knicks Hall of Famer, and my wonderful mother, Lula Bell McClain, my father Alfred McClain, and talented sister and brothers Almanda, John, Bryant, Billy and Bobby.

What advice would you give to current UNH students of color, or any students, based on what you learned while at UNH, and what you've learned from life after college?
Treat everyone you meet special and with respect and honor their friendship. It's important to interact with your fellow students. Build relationships while attending UNH, because it's not how much you know, but who you know, and when you do those simple things, good things will happen for you.

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    Staff writer | Communications and Public Affairs