CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - A former University of Central Arkansas basketball star and Benton preacher was found murdered this weekend in his Memphis area home, and THV 11 News heard from former teammates about Jimmy McClain's work on and off the court.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office in Memphis is not saying much about what led up to McClain's murder, and there are no suspects in custody yet. His death is leaving lots of unanswered questions for a case hitting home here in Central Arkansas.
"This picture goes back to 1986 to 1987 when we were teammates at UCA," Dennis Moore said.
Dennis Moore showed THV 11 part of his "basketball days" at the University of Central Arkansas. The team included standouts like Scottie Pippen and Jimmy McClain.
"He played so hard that Coach Jones dubbed him 'Full-Time' because he was full speed, full time, all the time. He didn't take off," Moore said.
McClain was a star on the court who most recently coached high school basketball in Memphis, but it all ended Friday when authorities found him dead inside his home. They said McClain hadn't shown up for work for days.
"You hate to have that happen to anybody, but Jimmy, you couldn't have met a better person," Moore said, as he explained how Jimmy was as dedicated to his team as he was to the sport."He was the guy that was always "ra-ra'ing" everyone whether he was in the game or not in the game."
McClain would not only go on to coach high school basketball but also preach on Sundays. He would drive from Memphis to the Church of Christ in Benton.
"The first time that I heard him it was like really joy," Ronnie Martin said. He saw his former UCA teammate on the pulpit several times. He said that work became a second passion for McClain.
"He was a good Christian. He really believed in the word, in the Bible," Martin said.
He was a man of faith and sports and his teammates, and McClain said he won't be forgotten.
"When they talk about UCA basketball, his name will be one that will always come up," Moore said.
Moore said that McClain was also known for a lot "dunking" on the court.
After his two years at UCA, he said McClain did some tryouts for the NBA but had more success playing basketball overseas. Moore also said he last saw McClain at UCA's homecoming this past fall; he said McClain would always come back to support the players.
The CBS station in Memphis, WREG, did reach out to Scottie Pippen, former player for the Chicago Bulls, about McClain's death. Pippen told them that he was still coping with the death and that McClain was a good man.