Billy McClean breaks his silence – coach behind 79 major underage medals discusses IABA departure

Billy McClean has spoken for the first time since he left his post as National Youth Head Coach, but hasn’t said enough to quash questions surrounding his controversial departure.

News broke last month that McClean had left the position after over-seeing 79 major medal wins in less than a 10 year period.

Shock was the initial reaction within boxing circles, even some members of the Central Council confirmed they were left ‘bewildered’ by the news.

It was also a subject that wasn’t discussed when the IABA Board of Directors meet last month.

Irish-boxing.com understand’s McClean has turned down numbers requests for interview and lack of clarifying comment from the IABA has sent the rumour mill into overdrive.

There is one particular ‘rumour’ or line commonly shared, but Irish-boxing.com can’t get official conformation with regard to reasons behind the departure.

McClean offered little by way of clarification in his statement today. The coach was happy to reflect on a successful career and the pride he has in his achievements.

The statement published online today reads:

Having been involved with Boxing for 40 years, As a young boxer to win Ulster Senior Titles to representing NI in the Commonwealth Games. Coaching at club level and then onto School Boy National Level.

Working full time at National level as Head Coach of the Junior and Youth Irish Teams for over nine years. Creating successful pathways for the development of our future champions.

It has been a privilege to help develop some of Ireland’s greatest young talent to their full potential who have gone onto the Senior cycle of 2021 Olympic games and 2024.

Some have chosen the path of Professional Boxing and are certainly making a name for themselves around the world. I have made some long lasting memories and friendships both here in Ireland and around the world in the great Sport of Boxing.

I have truly enjoyed working with club’s and International Federations alike and I am very honoured to have served them and my country to the best of my abilities.

I am retired but not from Boxing. It has been heart warming and humbling to hear from so many coaches and friends around the world since my departure. I look forward to seeing some of you next year.

As National Youth Head Coach, a role he took up in 2011, McClean has overseen 10 underage World Championships medal wins, as well as 69 European podium finishes. Of those 79 medals won 12 were gold.

McClean has also played a part in the development of some sensational young talent in recent years, some of which have gone pro, some of which are emerging as genuine senior talents.

Indeed, the most recent National Elites saw a host of teenage talents claim first senior titles.

McClean’s departure follows that of now American head coach Billy Walsh and Eddie Bolger, who is working with Team Germany in recent years.

AIBA Three-Star coach, boss at St Brigid’s Edenderry, Liam Brereton is another to be coveted abroad, last year he joined up with the Sierra Leone National Team ahead of the qualifiers for the Games in Tokyo.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com