Cornell Mann named Head Basketball Coach at D2 GVSU

Photo Courtesy GVSU Athletics

Grand Valley State Director of Athletics Keri Becker has named Cornell Mann as the school’s sixth men’s basketball head coach. 

“I want to thank Drew Turner and Jenna McLaughlin from Collegiate Sports Associates for their work during this search,” said Becker. “Through their national connections, thorough research, and smooth communications they helped pull in a pool from all parts of country, which ultimately lead us to an amazing hire in Cornell Mann. 

“We invited four excellent candidates to campus, who all brought exceptional coaching experience and different strengths. Cornell set himself apart in two ways. First, when he enters a room, he instantly connects. He will build lasting relationships with our student-athletes, work well with our staff and engage the campus and community as he builds the energy around our men’s basketball team. Second, his recruiting connections in Michigan and surrounding areas was unparalleled. These connections will give us the best chance to bring that talent to Grand Valley State.”

Mann comes to Grand Valley State after spending five years (2017-21) as a member of Cuonzo Martin’s coaching staff at Missouri. In addition to his tenure at Missouri, Mann has built a wealth of coaching knowledge and experience at previous stops that include Oakland (2016-17), Iowa State (2011-15), Dayton (2008-11), Western Michigan (2003-08) and Central Michigan (2001-03). Mann brings NCAA Tournament coaching experience from five different schools, including a run of four consecutive NCAA berths at Iowa State. In addition, Mann has helped recruit and develop eight NBA draftees and coached six All-Americans. Mann recruited and coached Western Michigan’s David Kool, the all-time leading scorer in Mid-American Conference history. 

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Grand Valley State Laker family,” said Mann. “I want to thank President Mantella, Athletic Director Keri Becker and Deputy Athletic Director Doug Lipinski for having the faith to see me as their next head coach. I cannot wait to get started working with the young men in our program and to build upon the tradition already in place at GVSU. We have a lot to accomplish as we strive for another GLIAC Championship. Let’s get to work!”

In first his first season at Missouri, the Tigers qualified for their first NCAA Tournament since 2013 and recorded their first 20-win season in four years. Mann was the lead recruiter for First Team All-SEC guard Kassius Robertson, who led Missouri in scoring in 2017-18. 

Mann helped steer Missouri to an impressive 2020-21 season, in which the Tigers went 16-10 and secured an NCAA Tournament berth for the second time in four seasons. In 2020-21, the Tigers spent 11 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25, reaching as high as No. 10 nationally for the first time since Jan. 7, 2013. With Mann and company, the squad went undefeated in nonconference play and finished the season with three wins over Top 10 teams (No. 6 Illinois, No. 6 Tennessee and No. 10 Alabama) in the same campaign for the first time since 2011-12. The Tigers finished the regular season as one of 13 teams nationally with seven Quad 1 victories and totaled a 9-4 record against the 2021 NCAA Tournament field, beating six conference champions along the way.

In his time at Iowa State, Mann recruited and tutored one of the top point guards in college basketball in Flint native Monte Morris, who finished his Iowa State career with the best assist-to-turnover ratio in NCAA history (4.65-1). Morris remains the Cyclones’ all-time assists leader.

Mann was on staff at Dayton (2008-11) for three-straight postseason berths. In his first season with the Flyers, Mann helped coach Dayton to the second-most wins in school history (27) and a second round NCAA Tournament appearance.

Prior to Dayton, Mann served stints on coaching staffs at Western Michigan (2003-08) and Central Michigan (2001-03), with the Broncos making a Big Dance appearance in 2004 and the Chippewas advancing to the tournament in 2003, respectively.

Mann is the first African-American head coach in the history of Laker athletics. 

A native of Royal Oak Township, Michigan, Mann earned a degree in family development from Akron in 1995, playing his final three seasons of eligibility for the Zips after starting his collegiate career at Colorado. He then earned his master’s degree at Iowa State in 2014. Mann has two children, a daughter, Cyncere, and a son, Maliq, and is engaged to his fiancee Justina Phillips.

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