JOPLIN -- Missouri Southern head basketball coach Robert Corn has been named one of 17 finalists for the Collegeinsider.com's Clarence "Big House" Gaines Division II Coach of the Year award as announced by the organization today. The winner will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet on April 1 in Houston, site of the men's basketball championship.
The Clarence Gaines Award, which is presented annually to the top Division II basketball coach, is named in honor of the former Winston Salem State head coach. One of the true legends of all-time, Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from an historically Black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Corn earned his third MIAA Coach of the Year honor this year as he was a unanimous pick by his peers in the league. He won his 350th career game in a win over Northwest Missouri to end the regular season and led the Lions to their seventh 20-win season. Southern won the third most games in a regular season ever in school history and advanced to the school's second-ever NCAA post season. The Lions won the MIAA Regular Season Title and advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions swept the MIAA post season awards this season as Skyler Bowlin was named the unanimous MIAA Player of the Year, while also repeating as MIAA Defensive Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Dijon Smith of Fort Hays. Coach Robert Corn was named the MIAA's Coach of the Year, while freshman Marquis Addison was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Bowlin was named to three-different All-American teams and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year.