Coach Corey: From 'Boro student to football coach

Category:  Sports
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:53 AM
Coach Corey: From 'Boro student to football coach by Madi Gross
Coach Corey poses with former Fighting Scot Alex Molik at the 2018 Football Banquet. | Photo: Madi Gross

Jack Corey's journey at Edinboro began long before he was being counted on to mentor members of the Edinboro football team.

It began in the seats of the university’s various academic halls. It began on the player’s benches. It began in cleats. “There’s probably like eight new buildings, or updated buildings, since when I was here,” said Corey, reminiscing.

“The Highlands didn’t exist when I first got here, the nursing building (The Jeremy D. Brown Human Services Building) wasn’t here, Ross [Hall] was a lot older and more complicated to get around — it used to be so confusing trying to get around in there,” he explained.

“The overall feel though, it was about the same. A very homey feeling, a calming atmosphere.”

On an average day as a student-athlete, Corey would begin some of his days as early as 6 a.m. with lifting, with classes beginning shortly after at 8. 

“I would usually go right until noon. I’d hopefully get a little down time; I’d try to get a nap in before practice,” he said. He’d head over to McComb Fieldhouse where team meetings would begin at 2 p.m., while practice would then run until about 6.

As a player on the Edinboro football team, Corey was part of the last Fighting Scots group to make it to the NCAA playoffs (2009). He played in over 25 games, and as a senior he played every position on the offensive line. He noted that this experience helped him once he began his coaching journey.

He also mentioned several times that his team was very close.

“We spent a lot of time together, especially the offensive line,” began Corey.

“I had three or four guys that I lived with, but then there were three or four that lived a couple houses down and we were always together. We did everything together; I think that’s kind of what made us a pretty good unit and a pretty good team.”

In his last semester as a student at Edinboro, Corey completed an internship at the Erie Sports Commission.

“I loved being around sports, and I thought that was kind of what I wanted to do,” he said. But when he found himself in the management settings, he discovered that there were some aspects he wasn’t crazy about. While at this internship, Corey met and worked with Executive Director Ron Sertz, who he saw as a mentor.

“He helped me see my vision of wanting to be a coach and getting into it.”

Corey explained that he began applying for coaching positions right out of school. “Coaching is really hard to get into. You kind of have to know people, and you kind of have to grind a little bit and cut your teeth — not making any money, volunteering and things like that — and I didn’t know that.”

Former Edinboro offensive coordinator Bryan Volk assisted in Corey learning the ropes of coaching. “He helped me see the light and figure out how to get into it. He convinced me to stay around for another semester, pick up a part-time job and volunteer,” he explained.

“I fell in love with the game from there.”

He began his coaching career in the Fall of 2013 at Edinboro and continued into the Spring of 2014. An interim position at Salisbury University opened up during this time, and in the fall season, Corey began his first paid coaching experience at Salisbury.

“After that season there was an opportunity to come back to Edinboro as a part-time coach so I took that.”

In the 2015 season the Edinboro football team went 0-11, and in 2016 new head coach Justin Lustig was brought in.

“It was another year that I had to prove myself as a coach because we had a new head coach,” began Corey. He further explained that he “put his nose to the grindstone” to ensure he was doing everything he could for the team.

During the 2016 season the team went 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. That season included wins against Gannon, Slippery Rock and Mercyhurst.

There’s no way

“I can remember when I decided to come to Edinboro and when I committed to play football here,” Corey explained.

“I had a lot of pride of being from New time my stepdad told me, ‘You know, you’re going to go down there and you’ll probably end up living in Pennsylvania for the rest of your life.’ I was like ‘There’s no way. It’s four years and I’m coming back.’”

He continued: “I had a friend when we were juniors right before we graduated say, ‘You know, you’re probably going to end up in Edinboro the rest of your life.’ And I was like ‘There’s no way, I’m out as soon as I graduate.’”

Corey, originally from upstate New York, has since found not only a home in Edinboro but a career. He is now the director of the offensive line and runs social media for the football team. And that’s not where his titles end. He also serves as run-game coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and supervises athletics study tables.

The coach taugh himself how to use Photoshop so that he could create pieces for the team such as this one:

“All of us here in this office, all of us who are football coaches, [we] have multiple jobs and titles and do all kinds of stuff,” he said.

The coach continued to explain that he works closely with all of his fellow coaches throughout the week, on and off of the field.

Corey then walked through what an average Wednesday is like for him at Edinboro as a coach.

“We were in the office at 6:30 this morning, [and] we watched our practice film from yesterday. After that, we went through and continued with our game plan.”

He continued: “From there we script...Coach Hembree and I work together in scripting practice and making sure we’re prepping everything we want to prep in those situations.” Corey explained that after this the coaches have a staff meeting and go through the practice’s schedule.

All of these things are complete before lunch.

After lunch: an offensive staff meeting to prepare for mistakes that may be made during practice. The players report at approximately 2:15 p.m. and that is when they do things like team meetings and review film with the players. Practice on the field begins after this.

Some may assume the end of practice would mark the end of the day, but this is not true for Corey as he’s in charge of supervising the athletics study tables. This is where he makes sure that student-athletes are staying on track and where he assists with homework.

For Corey there are many positives to coaching at his alma mater. For one, he gets to work with those who helped him in his academic experience here. Corey listed professors such as Dr. Shawn Regan, Professor Rebecca Wehler and Dr. Amy Eperthener as just some of the individuals who played a big part in his education here at Edinboro. He has since worked closely with all three of these professors since his coaching experience began.

On the field, one of Corey’s favorite parts of being a coach is to see the players learning and succeeding. A few big things the coach says that he stresses to the players is toughness, attentiveness, leadership and comradery.

The coach enjoys celebrating accomplishments with the team:

As well as bonding with inside jokes:

“I always preach to our offensive line that we need to build comradery in everything so that we can have comradery on the football field. It’s the same with the coaches. The more we can do off the field not involving football, the better we will be when it comes to football,” he explained.

“I like to bring the offensive coaches over — the younger coaches on the staff,” began Corey. He continued: “When I was a younger coach, that was really awesome! Bryan Volk was our offensive coordinator. Two or three times a week [he] had me over to his house for dinner. Being a young coach, I know the struggle and a free meal is a big deal. So being able to do that and just hang out, and have the guys around outside of the office, is really cool.”

After joking that he “doesn’t know what free time is,” Corey explained that during the offseason he likes to golf, grill and visit the lake in his hometown.

On game day when Coach Corey steps onto the field, he becomes very focused.

“I’m hyper-focused on my guys [the offensive linemen] during the plays and making sure that they’re executing,” he explained.

“I like to really take in the atmosphere of it, especially on game day.”

Overall, Corey is grateful for his experiences as both a student and a coach at Edinboro. He is also grateful for the experiences and people that led him to this spot in his life.

“I’m really happy where I am. This place is my home and will always be my home.”

Coach Corey's Pregame Playlist:

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