SEMO Hoop Notes: New Redhawk coach finds familiar faces in Cape

Southeast Missouri State University football coach Tom Matukewicz squeezes between players to hoist the OVC championship plaque after the Redhawks clinched the championship game against Murray State this past season at Houck Stadium.
Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian

This story is updated with the latest information on the Southeast coaching staff.

Kansas State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber admitted to being “surprised” that his former player at Southern Illinois, Brad Korn, wanted to go into the coaching profession upon graduating.

“I’ll be honest,” Weber recalled of Korn’s decision back in 2004, “it kind of surprised me because he had a degree in (marketing), he was intelligent, and could have pursued that.”

Korn was introduced Tuesday as the new Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball coach and was already showing some level of intellect by having sought advice from seventh-year Redhawk football coach Tom Matukewicz during the interview process.

“He’s a lot smarter than I am,” Korn said of the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.

Korn utilized a pair of questions during the press conference that Matukewicz has posed during his time in building a championship program at Southeast.

“A lot of the high of this moment will disappear,” Korn said, “and the questions will come, to steal a line from Coach Tuke: Who are we and where are we going?”

Matukewicz and Korn share some history dating back to Southern Illinois.

Matukewicz was the defensive coordinator for the Salukis from 2001 to 2007, while Korn was both a player and later a coach.

“I knew who he was,” Korn said. “When I transitioned over from player to coach, you get enthralled in your own little world. But we knew each other and knew of each other, but not on a real personal level.”

The real relationship that resulted in Korn standing in Cape Girardeau Tuesday was with Southeast athletic director Brady Barke.

Barke and Korn were both at Southern Illinois for a time, when Barke worked in compliance for the Salukis.

“I probably had more of a relationship with Brady,” Korn said. “Our offices were housed in the same vicinity.”

Barke and Korn knew of each other dating back to high school when their respective high schools in Illinois (Barke at Pittsfield and Korn at Plano) each competed in the Class A Super-Sectionals. Ironically, both of their teams had their seasons ended by Quincy Notre Dame in 1999 by four points.

“We’ve known of each other because of Illinois high school basketball,” Korn explained. “His family is a basketball family and we (both) played in the state tournament when I was a senior.”

Korn said he spoke with Coach Tuke, who passed on advice about Cape Girardeau and the university, but not any deep philosophical guidance.

“I wanted to get the landscape of everything,” Korn said. “When you come here as a player, you just go to the hotel, gym, and then home. You don’t necessarily see as much of the community side.

“I just wanted to pick his brain on that and how everything was from his perspective.”

Another familiar face

Not only does Korn have a relationship with Matukewicz and Barke, but he does so with current Redhawk assistant coach Keith Pickens, as well.

Korn served as an assistant coach at Missouri State from 2013 to 2016 and during that time, Pickens was a player for the Bears and later served two seasons as a graduate manager, while he completed his master’s degree.

“Keith and I do have a history,” Korn said. “That obviously helps me from a comfort level standpoint.”

Pickens has served two seasons with the Southeast program and was the interim head coach for two games in February when former coach Rick Ray had the flu and could not attend.

The Redhawks won both of those games.

Korn said he has spoken with Pickens, as well as current Redhawk assistants Tarrance Crump and Jason Owens.

“I am working through the staff right now,” Korn said. “As I reached out to every player (Monday), I also reached out to the staff just to introduce myself and let them know who I am.

“I’ll be going through (the hiring) process, similar to how Brady went through his process.”

Both Crump and Korn played for current Purdue coach Matt Painter, Crump with the Boilermakers and Korn at Southern Illinois.

All three Southeast coaches are under contract through April 30.

“I’ll go through candidates,” Korn said, “and there is obviously a list of people (in mind) I’ve had through the years that I know that I would like to talk to, present the job to, and the ins and outs of everything that I am looking for specifically.

“I will talk with every staff member and see where everybody is at and see where their head is at.”

Korn announced on Friday that he is retaining Pickens.

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