Women's basketball: Larkin grad Irvin excited to be new assistant coach at Illinois
Corry Irvin is on the move again, this time straight south on Interstate 57.
Irvin, a 1992 Larkin High School graduate, was named Tuesday as an assistant women's basketball coach at the University of Illinois.
And the Illini could not have found anyone with better recruiting ties to Chicago and the suburbs.
Irvin heads to Champaign after two years as head coach at Saint Xavier University, that following 18 seasons (2001-19) as the head coach at Whitney Young High School, where she had a career record of 449-77. Young won three IHSA state championships under Irvin, in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The Dolphins had a national high school record 124 consecutive home wins during Irivn's tenure.
"We are extremely excited to add Coach Corry Irvin to our staff," said fifth-year Illinois head coach Nancy Fahey on Illinois' website. "Corry embodies the values we embrace at the University of Illinois. It is clear her work ethic, character and passion make her a great fit for our program. She is a proven winner at all levels. Coach Irvin is a relationship-driven coach that knows how to push players to be their best at all times, both on and off the court."
Irvin hasn't been an assistant coach since beginning her coaching career as an assistant on Doug Bruno's staff at DePaul from 1999-2001.
"It'll be different," she said. "But it gives me an opportunity to learn, get better and grow as a coach and as a person. In good programs, the coaches work together.
"I'm excited about it. I've always had a lot of respect for the program and for Coach Fahey. The timing was right and the opening was there. Coach Fahey is a great leader and an exceptional coach who values the student-athlete experience. I look forward to contributing my value to this elite program."
In her two seasons at Saint Xavier, Irvin led the Cougars to back-to-back Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference championships. She had a record of 46-8 and her team advanced to the 2021 NAIA national tournament after also qualifying in 2020 prior to the event's abrupt cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A native of Elgin, Irvin (nee Carter) was a standout at Larkin, where she graduated as the Royals' career leader in rebounds and blocks. She ranks second in Larkin career in scoring, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame.
Irvin, who played collegiately at Fresno State, said she'll initially commute from her south side Chicago home to Champaign.
"It's only an hour and a half drive so for the summer I'll jut go back and forth, then we'll look into renting something when school starts," said Irvin, who is married to Mac Irvin, the founder of the highly successful Mac Irvin Fire AAU program. They have three children.
Irvin will be stepping into a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2012-13, when the Illini went 19-14 and made the quarterfinals of the WNIT. Their last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2003. Last season, Illinois was 5-18.
Irvin's strong ties to Chicago and the suburbs can't do anything but help Illinois' mission to get elite in-state athletes to head to Champaign for their college careers.
"That's a big deal," Irvin acknowledged. "We want Illinois players to come to Illinois."