University of Illinois adds Corry Irvin to coaching staff

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CORRY IRVIN
CORRY IRVIN HIRED as an assistant coach for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini women’s basketball team. (University of Illinois Athletics)

By Joseph G. Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor

The University of Illinois women’s basketball team hired former Whitney Young High School coaching legend and former St. Xavier University head coach, Corry Irvin, as an assistant coach to its Fighting Illini staff in May.

According to U of I Athletics, Irvin joins the Illini with a wealth of basketball knowledge and deep-rooted recruiting ties, in Chicago and nationally, built over 22 years as a coach at the NCAA Division I high school and NAIA levels.

Irvin spent the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons as the head coach at Saint Xavier University (SXU), where she led the program to back-to-back Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) championships.

Under Irvin’s guidance, the Cougars ranked in the top 20 and posted a record of 46-8 (.851) overall, including a dominant 32-1 (.969) mark in league play. Irvin’s 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.

Before taking the reins at SXU, Irvin served 18 seasons (2001-19) as the head coach at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School where she turned the Dolphins into one of the state’s top prep basketball programs and was consistently ranked among the top 20 high school programs on a national level.

Irvin compiled a career record of 449-77 (.854) at Whitney Young and won three IHSA state championships in 2008, 2012, and 2014.

She was selected as a three-time NFHS Illinois Coach of the Year and a five-time CPS Female Coach of the Year, and set an NFHS record by leading the Dolphins to 124 consecutive home wins.

Irvin began her coaching as an assistant on Doug Bruno’s staff at DePaul from 1999-2001. She was responsible for recruiting for the Blue Demons, and oversaw the team’s pre-season workout program. DePaul won 18 games in each of Irvin’s two seasons.

A native of Elgin, IL, Irvin (née Carter) was a high school standout at Larkin High School where she concluded her career as the school’s career leader in rebounds and blocks, and ranked second in the record book in scoring. She was named the Courier News Player of the Year as a senior in 1992 and in 2007 was inducted into the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame as a player.

Upon graduation, Irvin played collegiately at Fresno State. She appeared in 107 games and concluded her career as an All-Western Athletic Conference honorable mention performer. Irvin finished her career No. 10 on the Bulldogs’ all-time field goal list (360), No. 9 in rebounds (510), and No. 5 in blocked shots (55).

Irvin earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State in 1996. She also holds master’s degrees in curriculum development (2008) and special education (2010) from the University of Phoenix.

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