Souderton tabs Kornegay as new boys basketball coach

Through his extensive basketball background, new Souderton athletic director Dennis Stanton met and formed contacts with all manner of people with all manner of experiences.

It almost seemed fitting that one of his first tasks upon taking over at the top of the Souderton athletic department was to find a boys basketball coach. He also knew exactly who he wanted to fill the position.

Stanton got his man and confirmed Wednesday night that Chuck Kornegay, a former Villanova Wildcat, has been hired as the new boys basketball coach.

“We are very excited to have Chuck as our boys basketball coach,” Stanton said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “He had a prolific playing career both at Villanova and professionally at the highest of levels overseas and he has a pretty good coaching resume including Harcum College. But most importantly, we are excited about the hire because of Chuck’s character, integrity and passion for teaching the game to young adults.”

Kornegay, who originally hails from North Carolina, played three seasons under Steve Lappas at Villanova — 1994-1997 — after playing as a freshman at NC State. A 6-foot-9 power forward, Kornegay was a popular player with Wildcat fans as the team won the Big East tournament in 1995 and reached a No. 2 ranking in his junior season (1995-96).

After leaving Villanova, Kornegay began a professional career that started with the USBL’s Raleigh Cougars for two years, then an extensive overseas career. It was in those overseas stops where the idea of coaching was first presented to him.

“When I was playing overseas I felt the coaching over there is sometimes far inferior to the coaching over here,” Kornegay said. “I brought a lot of strategies to the table when I was interacting with my coaches and they seemed to be fairly receptive in that they let me have a lot of input with team strategy and I enjoyed doing it.”

Kornegay joked that his final few seasons overseas he was more of a player/coach than a player and as the “old man,” he was looked upon to lead the team and have that kind of input.

After his playing career wrapped, Kornegay returned to the area and got his feet planted in coaching. Through stops at Rosewood High School in North Carolina, a few years in AAU and three years at Harcum College, Kornegay developed a passion and talent for designing game strategy and player development.

Upon his return to the area — he lives in the Souderton Area School District — Kornegay connected with current Villanova coach Jay Wright to get insight and advice on his growing coaching career. Wright was one of the first to congratulate Kornegay, tweeting out a message out Wednesday. Kornegay said Wright has been a big influence on him and he wants to model himself after Wright’s method.

While Kornegay is excited to get in the gym and start working with his new players, he’s also anticipating learning the ins and outs of being a head coach.

“I’m excited for it all,” Kornegay said. “That’s all the way down to interacting with the parents and managing all the different aspects I’ve never had to do before, raising money for fundraisers and all the stuff like that, the booster club, it’s going to be new to me and challenging. But I’m totally up for it.”

Souderton went 13-10 last year with a 9-5 record in the Suburban One League Continental Conference and qualified for the District 1-AAAA playoffs under coach Pete Chimera, who went 43-30 in his three seasons with the Indians. Among their top returning players are guard Ty Salone, guard/forward Tracy Simsick and forward Austin Eberhart.

Kornegay was introduced to his team for the first time Tuesday and has already gotten to work. He was watching film from last season when he picked up the phone Wednesday, has the squad entered into a fall league and is lining up open gym sessions.

Stanton, a basketball guy himself — he coached Souderton for two seasons (2010-2012) — knew the importance of getting a coach in place as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the time in the fall.

“He wanted to schedule an open gym the next day, and that’s one of the reasons why we hired him,” Stanton said. “I know a lot of our basketball players and their families just from being in the area and coaching, so I wanted to make the right decision for them just as I would if it were a lacrosse job or a soccer job. Basketball’s been a part of my life for a long time so hitting the ground running with a good hire was certainly something I wanted to do.”

While the competitive side of Kornegay said he’s already behind compared to coaches coming back, he was also quick to say he doesn’t want to overwhelm his new protégés with too much too early.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about the team and I want to be the type of coach that’s adaptable to my team,” Kornegay said. “I want to see what they like to do, what strengths and weakness we have as a team and try to tailor my coaching around that. I have packages I anticipate using on offense and defense. I’m just excited, next week we have open gyms and I can start the process.”

Top Photo: New Souderton boys basketball coach Chuck Kornegay addresses current and potential Indians players on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015.

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