It took Marquette a little over a month to fill their vacant men’s soccer head coaching position, but from the looks of things on social media, the Golden Eagles administration hired the guy that they wanted all along. On Monday, Marquette announced that David Korn is the seventh head coach in program history, replacing Louis Bennett after the Milwaukee soccer icon stepped away from the program after the end of the 2023 season.
Korn has spent the last eight years as the head coach at Division 2 Maryville in Saint Louis. He went 98-38-26 in that time, winning three conference tournament titles and one regular season title, achieving both in 2022. Korn led the Saints to the NCAA tournament in six of his eight seasons, with the exceptions being his first season when they went 10-8-1 overall and 2020-21, when the NCAA canceled the national championship tournament due to COVID. That NCAA created gap means that Korn officially qualified for six straight NCAA tournaments and Maryville’s GLVC tourney title means that they would have been in the 2020-21 tournament if there had been one for a total of seven straight before leaving for the Marquette job. Maryville reached at least the second round in five of Korn’s six appearances, including the quarterfinals in both of the past two seasons.
When Korn was hired at Maryville for the 2016 season, the Saints had not had a winning season since an 11-7-0 mark in 2000. When Korn won 10 matches his first season and 13 in his second, it was the first back-to-back winning seasons for Maryville since John Renaud went 11-8-0 and 11-9-1 in his final two years in 1997 and 1998 as head coach to wrap up a run of eight straight winning seasons. Since 2016, Korn has guided Maryville to a new program record longest winning streak of 10 matches, accomplished in the 2019 season, along with what is now the third, fourth, and fifth longest winning streaks in program history. Korn is just the third coach in Maryville history, which dates back to 1972, to finish his tenure with more wins than losses.
Officially, this is not Korn’s first Division 1 head coaching job. He served as co-head coach at SIUE in 2014 after new Scott Donnelly resigned right before his first season to take a job with the U.S. Soccer Federation. The Cougars went 8-9-4 that year but did win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title and beat Northwestern in the NCAA tournament to advance to the second round that year. Korn stayed on as Associated Head Coach the following year when SIUE hired Mario Sanchez to run the show, and then he took the Maryville job the following year.
“We are extremely excited by the opportunity today to welcome David Korn to the Marquette family as our new head men’s soccer coach,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Bill Scholl said. ”David developed an impressive culture of success at Maryville and the value system he had in place matches Marquette’s mission as a university.
”Under his leadership, Marquette men’s soccer student-athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from a transformational experience, growing as both individuals and players. We can’t wait for David and his family to arrive on campus.”
Korn’s quote in the MU press release:
“I am incredibly honored and grateful to accept the position as head men’s soccer coach at Marquette University. I am excited to lead a new era of Marquette men’s soccer and I’m thrilled to work at one of the country’s top universities and athletic departments,” Korn said. “It’s clear to me that the opportunity at Marquette is one where our program can compete for BIG EAST and NCAA Championships. However, this will come as a result of creating a culture where student-athletes in our program will invest, compete and enjoy the experience of being a Marquette men’s soccer player.
”I want to thank Bill Scholl, Mike Broeker and the rest of the staff for the opportunity they have given to me and my family,” Korn added. I also want to be sure that I recognize and thank the players, coaches, alumni and staff at Maryville University who have shown me tremendous support over the past eight years.”
Maryville gave Korn a big press release send off as well. Here’s Lonnie Folks, their athletic director:
“We want to express our gratitude to coach Korn for everything he has done for our men’s soccer program here at Maryville,” Director of Athletics Lonnie Folks said. “He has been instrumental in elevating our team to become a power both in the Great Lakes Valley Conference as well as on a national level. Coach Korn has been a true leader for our student-athletes on the pitch and in the classroom. We wish David and his family all the best.”
And here’s Korn’s very long quote from that press release:
“It is difficult to put into words how lucky I have been to work at Maryville these past eight years,” Korn said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this community and incredible culture. First, I want to thank the student-athletes I have been privileged to coach as they’ve been the pioneers who helped push the soccer program to new heights and position Maryville among the top in the country. Also, to our alumni, who from the day I arrived, have been supportive, engaging, and instrumental in our success.
”I would like to thank our president Dr. Mark Lombardi, as his leadership has helped position our men’s soccer program to consistently compete at the highest level,” Korn said. “I also want to thank Marcus Manning, Lonnie Folks and Brittany Fennell for the way they have supported me, my family, and the soccer program. Finally, I want to thank the coaching staff here at Maryville for helping to create a collaborative and supportive culture. It is with extreme appreciation that I thank our current coaching staff Derek Zuniga and Sean Clancy for the tireless effort they’ve put into the team and investment of their talents. Without the support of all of these people, and others in the campus community I recognize the success of the program wouldn’t have been possible, and my family and I wouldn’t be in a position like this to take the next step in our journey.”
I’m obviously reading into this, but it certainly sounds like Korn would not have accepted the Marquette job and uprooted his family from Saint Louis to Milwaukee if he did not feel that he was going to get a similar level of support and backing from the athletic department administration at MU that he was receiving at Maryville. Marquette’s dedication to being a competitive program in whatever sport that we’re talking about has been proven over and over again, dating back to when Terri Mitchell was let go because admin decided that making the NCAA tournament once in seven years and qualifying for the WNIT five times in the other six was not good enough. With the exception of a run to the Sweet 16 in the incredibly weird Spring 2021 season’s NCAA tournament, it’s been a minute since we could honestly say that men’s soccer has been a competitive program in the Big East. If you ignore that incredibly weird season, Marquette has had just two winning seasons since they last appeared in the NCAA tournament in 2013, and one of them was this past season when Bennett finished 7-6-3 with a 1-6-3 run to close the season.
It won’t necessarily be easy for Korn, as the Big East is very much dedicated as a league to being good at men’s soccer. That was made very clear with the addition of national power Akron as an affiliate member after the MAC stopped sponsoring the sport. However, we’re talking about becoming competitive, not contending for championships. One step at a time.