Court dedication honors former coach


Molly Schons/The Chart

Former head basketball coach, Robert Corn, speaks on Saturday, Sept. 6 in Leggett & Platt about the basketball court named in his honor that afternoon.

Matt Barney, staff writer

A diverse crowd of family, friends, current and former players, faculty, alumni and boosters were on hand at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center Saturday night for the unveiling ceremony of the newly christened Robert Corn Court. The honor was bestowed on the former coach who retired last year after 25 seasons and 413 victories, making him the winningest coach in school history.  

“It’s very humbling; there’s no doubt that as a coach you couldn’t have a better honor given to you than having the court or field named after you,” said Corn. “This is something that obviously the Corn family is very proud of, but we also realize it wasn’t done because of Robert Corn; a lot of people have been a big part of any success we’ve had here, and there’s a lot of names that could go on that court besides Robert,” he said.  

University President Alan Marble emailed Coach Corn in February about the possibility of naming the court in honor of him. The idea was born two years ago when Southern played a men’s basketball exhibition game at the University of Missouri and saw that court was named after their legendary former coach Norm Stewart.

Marble introduced Corn at Saturday’s ceremony.

“Universities are built on history and pride, balanced with a vision for the future, and this gives us a connection to a very storied past that we can build on for a future,” said Marble.

Family was a big theme throughout the night as generations of family and players were on hand to commemorate the event.  

“It’s all about being a family and bringing everybody together,” said former Southern point guard Kelly Henderson, who played for coach Corn from 1992 through 1995.  

“I’ve always tried to include our basketball players in our immediate family along with Scott and Rob (Corn’s sons). They’ve had a lot of big brothers growing up over the years,” said Corn.  

Corn’s wife Cindy was on hand for the ceremony. She said the family would attend every game this season on the new court.

“This means 25 years of memories, great friends, great players and their families; it’s been a great experience,” she said.  

Southern’s Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, along with a group of volunteers, began a fundraising campaign for a new scholarship in honor of Corn’s 25 years as head coach earlier this year. The project, known as Full Court Press, will fund student athletes who need a fifth year to graduate due to the time demands of their sport. Donations of $172,750 to date have far eclipsed the original goal of $100,000.

“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Corn said. “When I heard the goal of $100,000, my first impulse was, ‘Whoa, that’s a lot of money,’ and for this community to come out and support this project just tells you what this community is all about. The things this money is going to do, when you start talking about scholarships for students to fulfill their dream of getting a college education, that’s huge. I can’t wait to see what happens with some of these students that were able to get some scholarship money through this and what things they accomplish in their lives.”

The Lions will see their first action on the court Nov. 21 for the Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic.