The 'journey' of new SEMO hoop coach Brad Korn will pay dividends
The Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball program has been ravaged over the past five years by player departures.
In former Redhawk coach Rick Ray’s initial three recruiting classes, 16 of 20 signed players (80 percent) failed to complete their eligibility with the program.
So in finding a replacement for Ray, it would behoove Southeast athletic director Brady Barke to land a coach who understands – and can convey the importance of – immediate self-sacrifice for eventual achievement down the road.
With the hiring of Kansas State assistant coach Brad Korn Monday to replace Ray, current Wildcat coach Bruce Weber said Korn is that guy.
“The thing that I think is incredible,” Weber told Semoball.com Monday, “is he took a half pay cut to go to Missouri State to become a full-time assistant.”
Korn spent a season with the Wildcats in a non-coaching role as the director of basketball operations. However, wanting to continue in his professional development, Korn decided to leave the Big 12 program – and its higher salary – to take a coaching position at Missouri State.
That resonated with Weber.
“His thing was ‘I want to be a head coach,’” Weber explained. “He knew that he had to recruit and he wanted that experience.”
Korn remained in Springfield for three seasons before Weber brought him back to Kansas State as an assistant coach, where he has spent the past four seasons.
“I knew him,” Weber said of re-hiring Korn. “I admired what he did. I appreciated what he did.”
Korn has been making an impact with Weber since he was a teenager.
He signed to play for Weber at Southern Illinois as a 170-plus-pound forward and had to grow into a role in which he could find playing time, eventually starting all 29 games as a fifth-year senior.
“He was part of one of the greatest runs in Southern Illinois history,” Weber said.
Korn eventually spent 13 years in Carbondale as both a player and coach, and he “surprised” Weber by expressing an interest in coaching after graduating with a degree in marketing. But as a coach, Korn demonstrated the same diligence it took to succeed as a player.
“To me, he is going to be successful (at Southeast Missouri State) because of his pathway of where he is now,” Weber said. “He’s stayed in coaching and done the journey. I think that journey, his work ethic, his loyalty, his dedication, his intelligence, and just a love of the game… he’s done it the right way.
“Because of that, I really believe he is going to be successful.”
Korn not only made an impression on Weber, but he did so with Weber’s boss, as well.
“It seemed like every time he did a scout on a team,” Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor said, “the outcome was very positive. Brad is really good with the kids.”
But not too good, according to Taylor.
“He’s intense,” Taylor said, “but he’s going to have fun and he’s going to coach them up.
“I think this will be a great opportunity for (Southeast).”
Brad Korn's history
Here is a glance at the seasons in which Korn served as a full-time assistant coach.
2006 – 2007 – SIU (under Chris Lowery) (29-7, 15-3, 1st in Missouri Valley)
2007 – 2008 – SIU (18-15, 11-7, 3rd)
2008 – 2009 – SIU (13-18, 8-10, 5th)
2009 – 2010 – SIU (15-15, 6-12, 9th)
2010 – 2011 – SIU (13-19, 5-13, 8th)
2011 – 2012 – SIU (8-23, 5-13, 9th)
2013 – 2014 – Missouri State (under Paul Lusk) (20-13, 9-9, 4th in Missouri Valley)
2014 – 2015 – Missouri State (11-20, 5-13, 8th)
2015 – 2016 – Missouri State (13-19, 8-10, 6th)
2016 – 2017 – Kansas State (under Bruce Weber) (21-14, 8-10, 6th in Big 12)
2017 – 2018 – Kansas State (25-12, 10-8, 4th)
2018 – 2019 – Kansas State (25-9, 14-4, 1st)
2019 – 2020 – Kansas State (11-21, 3-15, 10th)