New SEMO hoop coach Brad Korn looking forward, not backwards

Former Kansas State assistant men's basketball coach Brad Korn instructs a Wildcat player during a game against Alabama State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas this past season.
photo courtesy of Kansas State athletics

“We need someone who can come in and convey a vision, create a sense of unity within that program in terms of where they are headed.”

Southeast Missouri State athletic director Brady Barke made that statement nearly a month ago when he was addressing the topic of hiring a new men’s basketball coach and he reiterated it Tuesday when he introduced former Kansas State assistant coach Brad Korn as the new coach of the Redhawk program.

Barke is well aware of what has occurred with the Redhawks in the past, as is Korn, but Barke sought to find a coach who was laser-focused on the future.

“I really wanted to find someone to lead our program,” Barke explained, “that truly wanted to be here. Not just because they wanted to be a Division I basketball coach, but because they saw something special in SEMO.”

Korn made it explicitly clear that sees “something special” in this program moving forward. Neither guy expressed concerns about the mediocrity that has enveloped this program for the majority of its 30-year history at the NCAA Division I level. All Korn sees in his new job is “opportunity.”

“You obviously know the history,” Korn told, “and you respect the history, but I don’t think that has to define you moving forward.”

Korn is undertaking a challenge in which five other coaches have tried and failed. In fairness, the resources available, and the world of college basketball, are both different at Southeast today than a decade – or three – ago, so it isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison to measure Korn’s task and what faced those former coaches.

As Korn (and Barke) both stated, there are few reasons as to why Southeast cannot be competitive – consistently – within the Ohio Valley Conference.

“There are things here in place for you to have success,” Korn said. “I can’t really speak of why there hasn’t been the consistency but I can speak of are the reasons why we can (succeed). When I looked at this job, I know some people thought ‘Aw man, look at the record.’ I see that as great room for opportunity and great room for growth and a great way to put your fingerprints on something.”

Korn will have nice facilities in both the Show Me Center, as well as the Holcomb Success Center to market.

He will have a nice campus to sell, as well as an academic environment that isn’t burdensome in terms of admissions. And the Ohio Valley Conference has shown to be a pathway to playing professionally for those that achieve success within the league.

“There are obviously hurdles and obstacles with every job,” Korn said. “No situation is perfect. I just think that there are a lot of things in place here, starting with Brady, (university president Dr. Carlos Vargas), the administration is in place, and I think that there is a desire here to have success.

“To me, it is more about the opportunity that is ahead of you, than things that have happened in the past.”

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