Patriot League 20th Anniversary Profiles: Anne McClain



Oct. 5, 2010

Anne McClain (Spokane, Wash.) was a member of two Patriot League Softball Championship squads during her career at the U.S. Military Academy (2000, 2002).

After earning her undergraduate degree at West Point, she attained an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Bath in England. She also attained an MS in International Security from the University of Bristol, also in England. McClain then attended flight school, and got her first choice aircraft, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. She completed an internship at NASA Ames Research Center, working with the Aeroflightdynamics Directorate, in Helicopter Flight Testing. Following that, she traveled to Africa for eight weeks with Operation Crossroads Africa, working on a construction project in Uganda.

  • Three-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection (1999, 2001, 2002)
  • Played on two Black Knights' squads that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including an NCAA victory at the 2002 Tournament
  • Marshall Scholarship recipient

    Q: What factors helped in your decision to attend the U.S. Military Academy?
    A: The quality of education, ability to play D1 softball, level of adventure and service in the military and post-graduate opportunities.

    Q: What was your proudest on-the-field accomplishment?
    A: Army-Navy, freshman year. We were definitely considered the underdog and ended up losing the game; however, we put up a much greater fight than anyone ever expected out of us and if I remember correctly, it was one of the better games of my career. .

    Q: Q: Who were your sports idols growing up and why?
    A: My idols were always those closest to me - my coaches in junior high and high school. Shari Manikowski and Denise Schlepp, my two high school softball coaches, had a huge impact on me and I always looked up to them. They both really shaped my decision-making as a teenager and since.

    Q: What was your proudest academic accomplishment?
    A: Receiving the Marshall Scholarship out of West Point and having the opportunity to pursue two Masters degrees in England after graduation.

    Q: What was your proudest on-the-field/court accomplishment?
    A: My junior year we were down by one in the sixth inning against Lehigh in the first game of the finals in the Patriot League Tournament. After striking out a couple times in the game previous to that inning, I expected the coach to put in a pinch hitter for me. But, he let me hit, and I hit a two-run homerun over the fence to pull ahead! I will never forget it.

    Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
    A: The softball team at West Point was a very supportive group. The rigors and demands unique to the military environment can be stressful, but having the other players to talk to and compare stories with made a huge difference. The mentorship provided by the more senior players was invaluable and definitely taught me how to effectively manage interpersonal relationships in a group-work high stress environment.

    Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
    A: West Point is a very structured environment. Every cadet is an athlete and the daily schedule is structured as such. The tough part was the travels and missed classes, but we were blessed with having officer representatives (ORs) who helped us stay on track academically. In fact, my sophomore year, I took two finals in the press box at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington when we were there playing the NCAA tournament. The instructors at West Point are 100% dedicated to all of the students, and would come in on weekends and late at night after we returned from road trips to help catch us up.

    Q: How did it feel to be play on two Army squads that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (2000, 2002)?
    A: Those were some of the greatest memories I had! Playing at the University of Washington in 2000 was especially neat because I am from that area of the country and my family and friends did not get to see me play very much on the East Coast. It was also a good experience for us cadets to get away from West Point and relax a little with "normal" college kids!

    Q: If you could go back to college and compete one more time, where would it be and against whom?
    A: Against Lehigh, any location! But preferably in the Patriot League Championship.

    Q: If you had to offer current student-athletes some words of wisdom what would they be?
    A: You will not remember your stats, your record, or your performance nearly as much as you will remember the people around you. So, do not be so hard on yourself, and take the time to appreciate and get to know the people around you. There will be a day when you would give anything to go back and be surrounded by them again, even if it meant sitting on the bench!.

    Q: Looking back, what does it mean to you to have been a Patriot League student-athlete?
    A: Being a student-athlete did SO MUCH for my self-confidence and ability to multi-task and manage multiple requirements. In high school, I never dreamed of playing Division 1 softball (well, I dreamed about it, but certainly did not see it being a reality!). So just being part of the program, being recognized as a scholar-athlete, and spending hours on the softball field with my friends in college really meant the world to me!

  • Name: Anne McClain
    Institution: U.S. Military Academy
    Sport: Softball
    Graduation Year: 2002
    Undergraduate Degree: Aerospace Engineering