There are few, if any, people in Central who have had a connection with Central High athletics the way Leo McClure and his family have.
A 1973 graduate of Central, McClure has served stints at various times as the Wildcats head basketball coach, head football coach and athletic director. His sons, Todd, Trey and Tanna, played multiple sports at Central before moving on to pursue collegiate and pro careers.
So, it was a natural earlier this month when Central hired McClure to succeed Mike Forbes as baseball coach after Forbes recently accepted the head position at Brusly.
Central’s brief search came to a conclusion after McClure met with principal Brandon Lagroue and athletic director Sid Edwards.
“I’m excited about coming back home to my alma mater and working to improve the baseball program that Mike Forbes has already done a great job with,” McClure said. “I just want us to continue to grow on that.”
The Central program, which won four consecutive Class 4A titles in the ‘90s, found renewed vigor under Forbes, who led the Wildcats for eight seasons. Central missed the playoffs in Forbes’ first three seasons but made its way to postseason play the next five years.
The Wildcats won back-to-back 5A championships in 2017-18 bringing the school’s overall total to seven.
“They’ve lost a few players since their last state championship, but Central’s got good baseball players,” said McClure, who has maintained close ties to Central’s baseball program.
McClure’s baseball resume includes coaching Central-based travel ball teams. Among the players he tutored were a teenaged Forbes, years before he took the reins as the Wildcats head coach.
“Mike played for me when he was 13 or 14 years old, but that was years and years ago,” McClure said.
Central’s state titles in ’17 and ’18 were the program’s first championships since the last of four consecutive in 1995. Last season, Central lost a best-of-three regional round matchup with eventual state champion Barbe two games to none and finished with a record of 17-18.