Brad Korn's first day on his new job was a little unorthodox, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
He was introduced at a closed press conference Tuesday, shown online on Southeast Missouri State's Facebook page. He didn't appear to shake hands with his new boss, SEMO athletic director Brady Barke, as he strode to the podium.
Other than that he looked right at home.
Korn, who led Plano to fourth place in Class A in 1999, has returned near his Illinois roots. After five seasons at Kansas State, the last four as an assistant coach, Korn was hired on Monday as the new head coach at Southeast Missouri State.
The 38-year-old Korn, who starred in college at Southern Illinois, signed a five-year contract with SEMO – an hour south of Carbondale just over the Illinois state line.
"In high school I played in a Final Four, as a college player we won three championships and played in a Sweet 16, won two Big 12 championships and went to an Elite Eight at Kansas State, but today is just as important as the others," Korn said "because I'm standing here because of my team – my wife and my two daughters. It's not easy being a coach's wife."
The 6-foot-9 Korn, an All-Stater at Plano, went on to lead SIU to three straight Missouri Valley Conference titles and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances in college in 2002-2004. He spent eight seasons as an assistant at SIU, and three years at Missouri State before joining his college coach, Bruce Weber, at Kansas State.
"I've been lucky enough to play for some great coaches, including legendary coaches in high school like Scott Miller and Al Gruidl...to put myself in this position," Korn said.
Coaching was not Korn's first consideration, but that changed when he joined Chris Lowery’s staff at SIU as a graduate assistant. Korn, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SIU, was elevated to a full-time assistant there in 2006.
Two years ago, with a Kansas State team picked to finish eighth in the Big 12, Korn and the ninth-seeded Wildcats made a memorable run to the Elite Eight before losing to Loyola.
At SEMO Korn replaces Rick Ray, let go after five seasons. The Redhawks went 7-24, 3-15 in the Ohio Valley Conference, but could return 13 of their 15 players next season.
"We were looking for someone to recruit the region, develop student athletes, someone who understands how special basketball is to this region," Barke said. "We found someone who has grit, someone who has made his own success, someone who knew what he wanted and got it."