The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 22, 2014

Video tribute sums up Corn's years at MSSU

The hardest part of Robert Corn’s day happened before Missouri Southern’s basketball game started.

The Lions’ game on Saturday afternoon against Pittsburg State was the final regular-season game at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center for Corn, who has announced he is retiring after a 25-year career.

“I kept telling myself all day long it wasn’t going to bother me,” Corn said. “In the locker room it bothered me a little bit.”

But a few minutes later, it bothered him. A lot.

Standing with his wife Cindy and their sons Rob and Scott, Corn watched a video tribute that included comments from himself, MSSU athletics director Jared Bruggeman and former Lion basketball player Blake Bard. There were photos of Corn’s playing days with the Lions (1976-78) and pictures and video of his later years as the head coach.

“I was OK for a while,” Corn said. “And then man, when the river started flowing, it flowed. I’m going to have to go back and watch the second half of the video. I didn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see anything, I didn’t even watch it. It was very emotional.”

Some of the Lions’ players watching from the bench also were affected.

“For me, I definitely wanted to see it,” senior forward Jordan Talbert said. “I wanted to see them honor Coach. I have so much respect for him. To be a part of that was huge.”

Corn then received a standing ovation from the crowd of 3,346 fans — both Lions and Gorillas fans — and Bruggeman presented him with a framed picture of Corn getting a hug from older son Rob.

Moments later, it was announced that the campaign to name the arena floor Robert Corn Court has been successful.

The goal was to raise $100,000 to be used for scholarships for fifth-year student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and a member of the pep band. To date, $135,000 has been raised.

Speaking of the pep band, after the Lions’ 110-90 victory, some pep band members held up signs that read “Thank You Coach” as he and his players approached.

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