You don’t spend nearly 40 years broadcasting local high school and college sports if you don’t love what you do. And Monett’s Mike McClure has had a love affair with sports since he was a young boy.

McClure caught the broadcasting bug as a youngster by listening to Jack Buck (MSHOF 1980) call Cardinals games on KMOX. But Buck wasn’t the only one McClure admired.

“I was five years old when Ned Reynolds (MSHOF 2001) started at KY3,” McClure said. “He was a big influence on my love of sports my entire life.”

Since 1985, that love of sports has led to McClure broadcasting over 4,200 games, covering everything from high school sports on local radio to college basketball and football on streaming services such as ESPN+. His dedication to his craft, love of southwest Missouri and the impact he’s had along the way is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted McClure with the Class of 2023.

McClure began broadcasting local sports in the mid-80s after graduating from the University of Arkansas. He returned to Monett where he honed his craft in a mostly pressure-free environment.

“I remember some of my early basketball broadcasts for Monett Communications in the mid 1980’s were tape delayed broadcasts,” he said. “The game I was broadcasting would be aired on the radio at the conclusion of a game that was being broadcast live by another announcer at a different venue. I did not have the pressure of being ‘live’ on the air. If I needed to hit the pause button on the cassette recorder to collect my thoughts, or correct a mistake, I did and no one but me really knew the difference.”

Over time, McClure stopped relying on the pause button and developed into a reliable and in-demand play-by-play man. And as even more time went by, opportunities grew for McClure thanks in part to significant technological advances in broadcasting.

“The advancement of audio and video streaming has allowed many more chances to broadcast games,” McClure said. “I started out on the radio, then added cable television sports broadcasts, then audio streaming, then video streaming for ESPN3 and ESPN+. The number of games being broadcast now versus 40 years ago has allowed sports broadcasters to work many, many more games now compared to four decades ago.”

And work is something McClure has never been afraid of. In fact, he’s worked so much that when asked to name one or two particular moments that stood out in his career he couldn’t. There are just too many.

“I have had 16 signature moments in my broadcasting career,” he said. “I had the honor of broadcasting state championship titles for Billings baseball (1990), Marionville girls basketball (1991), Miller football (1994), Aurora football (1999), Verona boys basketball (2003), Marionville football (2003), Mt. Vernon girls basketball (2010 and 2012), Mt. Vernon softball (2016), Monett football (2016), Monett softball (2017), Aurora baseball (2017 and 2018), and Willard baseball (2021).

“At the college level the Missouri Southern men’s basketball team winning the MIAA Conference Tournament (2014) and the Missouri Southern women’s basketball team winning the MIAA regular season title (2022) have also been signature moments.”

Not surprisingly, McClure’s talents have led him to work alongside many of our sports broadcasting local legends.

“I was blessed to have two long-time play-by-play broadcasters, Don Gross (Missouri Southern) and Art Hains (Missouri State; MSHOF 2016), mentor me as a young broadcaster starting in 1985. I was amazed at their professionalism and not only how much pride they took in their radio broadcasts, but also at the same time the emphasis was centered on the players, not on themselves.”

But Gross and Hains weren’t the only ones to make an impact.

“Dave Beckett has been a broadcasting partner for almost all 38 years. His knowledge of sports has been invaluable,” McClure said. “My first broadcast with Don West (MSHOF 2020) happened in 1996. Little did I know at the time, we have now worked over 1,000 games together as broadcasting partners. We both have a passion for broadcasting sports and doing it the right way. We truly make each other better.”

McClure, it seems, is finally getting his due. In 2017 he was elected to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, becoming just the sixth broadcaster to be so honored. And in 2021, he was inducted into the inaugural Monett High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Now he’s a Missouri Sports Hall of Famer as well.

“I was surprised when I got the call,” McClure said. “I understand when broadcasters that work in larger markets get recognized by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. I was honored since my broadcasting career has mostly consisted of high school sports in southwest Missouri. I realize without the opportunities to broadcast for Mediacom, MSSU, and Missouri State with ESPN3 and ESPN+ this induction for me might not happen.”