Semoball

Kennett hires Senath-Hornersville coach Corbin Clark as its new varsity boys basketball coach

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Corbin Clark looks on from the sidelines in a varsity boys basketball game at Senath-Hornersville in 2018. Clark is the new varsity boys basketball coach at Kennett.

Kennett High School didn’t look far to find its next boys basketball coach.

The Kennett Board of Education approved the hiring of Dunklin County native Corbin Clark as its new varsity boys basketball coach at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night.

Clark has spent the last five seasons coaching about 10 miles away at Senath-Hornersville High School.

“I’ve spent my entire career coaching in Dunklin County,” said Clark, who was the athletic director and varsity boys basketball coach at Senath-Hornersville in the 2019-20 school year. “Dunklin County is where I’m from and where I went to school. I’ve kind of come up through some smaller schools. Obtaining the position at Kennett was an opportunity for me to meet a major career goal of mine to obtain a head coaching position at a larger school district.

"I feel like Kennett has a chance to compete with some of the better schools in the area,” Clark added. “I loved where I was coaching at and the Senath-Hornersville kids and the administration. But this was definitely the right move for me when it became available.”

Clark is a 2009 high school graduate of nearby Holcomb who played college baseball at Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Tennessee. He enjoyed a three-year stint as the assistant boys basketball coach and middle school baseball coach at Holcomb before spending the last five seasons at Senath-Hornersville.

Clark served as the assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Senath-Hornersville for one year. He has been the head varsity boys basketball coach the last four years. He also coached the varsity baseball team at Senath-Hornersville for four years.

“I wanted to be a varsity head coach and received that opportunity at Senath-Hornersville,” he said. “It was tough to leave my hometown of Holcomb but it was a good move for me. Senath-Hornersville has been great the last five years. Their administration is extremely supportive of athletics and their coaches and what their coaches need.”

Senath-Hornersville finished 13-13 at the varsity level in the 2019-20 season. They advanced to the championship of the Bootheel Conference Tournament as the No. 7 seed.

“I think it’s a great job and I’m leaving behind a group of kids that I truly think the world of,” Clark said. "It’s tough to leave but it’s also a good next step for me in my career.”

Clark inherits a Kennett program that put together its winningest season in over a decade in 2019-20 under head coach Andrew Halford. Kennett graduated five seniors, including three varsity starters, off a 2019-20 squad that finished 20-8. Returning starters are soon to be senior Kobe Gates and soon to junior Ben McMullan.

“They graduated some guys that were key contributors for sure,” Clark said. “But we’ve got some guys back that were also big parts of the team. Ben McMullan and Kobe Gates are two huge pieces. Both of those guys have some size, physicality, and the ability to really shoot the basketball. We also have a young man that will be a sophomore - Riley Henfling - who had a really good junior varsity season last year.

“I think those three guys will give us a really strong, physical front court,” Clark added. “One of our question marks may be what we are going to do in the back court as far as developing some guard play from the guys that played on our junior varsity last year.”

Clark said depth will impact whether or not Kennett continues to play the up-tempo style of play it adopted under Halford.

“I think it will depend on how many bodies we can run out there,” he said. “That will determine the tempo we play at the varsity level. I definitely think there will be opportunities to pressure people and run the floor, but again that will be dependent on our guard play. You want to go fast when the opportunity exists but I also feel like our front court is a strength so we want to get the ball in the paint and play from the inside-out.”

Kennett remains in search of its first district title in boys basketball since 2010. The path to a district title is likely to look much different in the 2020-21 season with Missouri transitioning from a five to a six-class system in basketball.

“I hate to really guess who they might put in our district,” Clark said. “But based on the math we will likely be in Class 4 in a six-class system. That’s nothing official but that is my best guess. I think that will push Kennett away from a couple of schools they’ve always been pitted against. One or two may stay in Class 3 and a couple that were in Class 4 will probably move up to Class 5. It will be very interesting to see who lands where but I think there is potential for a six-class system to be a positive thing for us at Kennett High School.”

Clark hopes he has the opportunity to work with his players on the court this summer. Kennett, like other local basketball programs, is currently restricted to limited weight-lifting activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody is in the same boat and trying to navigate through these uncharted waters we are in,” he said. “It’s a tough year to make a coaching transition in that regard because the summer is typically the time a new coach uses to meet his guys and develop new relationships. I have been able to start attending the weight sessions we are allowed to have within the guidelines of the COVID-19 restrictions. My goal is to continue to be visible and present and try to build those relationships.

“Hopefully we can get back in the gym soon,” he added. "If we get in the gym this summer we will do what we have in the past and put together an open gym schedule and also play some summer shootouts against some other teams.”

Clark will also serve as a physical education teacher at Kennett for the upcoming school year.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Senath-Hornersville for helping me out over the years,” he said. “I’d also like to thank Coach Halford for assisting me in this transition. I also appreciate the board and the administration at Kennett for giving me the opportunity to fulfill a goal I’ve had for a long time.”

The search for a new varsity boys basketball coach at Senath-Hornersville is underway. A new coach had not been hired at press deadline.

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