On May 1, 2017 Head Coach Morris Scott announced the hiring of Assistant Coach Chrys Cornelius completing Scott’s first coaching staff for the 2017-18 Season.
Fortunately, Cornelius won’t have much adjusting to do when he joins Scott’s staff, having worked together at Florida A&M, where Scott was a graduate assistant when Cornelius was an assistant coach.
“He’s a guy that taught me a lot about the coaching business and the do’s and dont’s of being in the college coaching profession,” Scott said. “He’s an older veteran and a guy I’m comfortable with, a guy that I know knows me. I felt like it was a good move to bring him on and be a part of our staff.
Scott said Cornelius will help fill the role left by Scott’s own promotion, helping with recruiting, scheduling and several other areas, on top of actual coaching.
“It helps a lot when you come and work with a guy that you know,” Cornelius said. “He knows how I work, I know how he works and we both know how each other is as far as being people. Morris is a good coach, he’s a good family man, a good father and he’s a good leader. Whenever you have an opportunity to be around a coach like that, you have to take advantage of that.”
Cornelius comes to Southern University after a 2-year stint at Bethune-Cookman University under head coach Gravelle Craig where he helped the Wildcats to a 16-16 MEAC record, a 16-8 home record and a 3rd place finish in the 2015-16 season. While at Bethune-Cookman in his 2-year stint, Cornelius helped coach and develop four All Conference players: Mario Moody, LaRon Smith, Jordan Potts, and Brandon Tabb, one Defensive Player of the Year: LaRon Smith, and one All-Rookie Team member Quinton Forrest.
Cornelius also helped mentor eight Student Athlete basketball players receive their Degrees and was very instrumental in the basketball program being recognized for the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award in 2015-16 season. Bethune-Cookman was 1 of 29 D1 basketball programs in the country that received the award. The award is given to the student athletes who acquired a 3.0 or better team GPA.
Cornelius came to Bethune-Cookman from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he helped lead the Phoenix to a 95-65 record in five seasons, including a 48-17 record in his last two years. Cornelius also helped coach Green Bay to victories over nationally ranked Marquette, Virginia, and Miami.
Cornelius also helped coach Green Bay to a Horizon League regular season title in 2014 and three post seasons (2 NIT's and 1 CIT). Cornelius recruited two-time Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes and also was the lead recruiter helping the Phoenix land Alfonzo McKinnie (Toronto Raptors), Steven Baker and Khalil Small. Cornelius also coached and helped develop Second Team All-Horizon League Forward Greg Mays and Three-Time All Horizon League Center Alec Brown, who was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns.
Along with on-court coaching and recruiting duties, Cornelius handled some of the programs scouting responsibilities. He was also in charge of scheduling.
In January 2015, Cornelius was ranked the top assistant coach in the Horizon League by Next Up Recruits.
All told in his Division I career, Cornelius has coached eight 1,000-point scorers and 13 all conference performers.
Cornelius came to Green Bay after spending three seasons (2007-10) as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois under head coach Mike Miller.
Cornelius helped the Panthers to 19 victories in his final season (2009-10), the programs third highest win total since joining Division 1 in 1981-82. The 19-12 record marked the school’s first winning season since 2000-01.
In his three-year stint at Eastern Illinois, he coached two all-conference players – Tyler Laser (First Team OVC) and Romain Martin (Second Team OVC). He also recruited TJ Marion (West Aurora/Southeastern Illinois JC), who was selected to the All-Newcomer Team in 2008-09. Cornelius also recruited Curry McKinnie (LA Trade Tech JC) and Dwayne Wright (Highland JC, Kansas).
Cornelius came to Eastern Illinois University after spending 4 seasons (2003-07) at Florida A&M University. He helped lead Florida A&M to two of its three NCAA Tournament appearances (2004 and 2007) and its first NCAA Tournament victory with a 72-57 win over Lehigh in 2004 under head coach Mike Gillespie, Sr. Cornelius helped the Rattlers to 21 victories in his final season at Florida A&M. He also helped coach the Rattlers to a 42-30 MEAC Conference record in his 4-year stint at FAMU.
While at Florida A&M, Cornelius helped develop the Hall of Fame guard Terrance Woods who lead the country in 3-point field goals made in consecutive seasons, with 139 makes in 2003 and 140 in 2004. Woods won the 2004 3-point shootout at the 2004 NCAA Final Four.
Cornelius also coached and helped develop First Team all-conference guard Tony Tate, First Team All-Conference center Rome Sanders, and 2007 MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Brian Greene. He helped the Rattlers land Darius Glover (Chicago Westinghouse), LC Robinson (Highland, Ill. JC), Rome Sanders (Chicago Curie), Lamar Twitty (Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Boyd Anderson) and Joe Ballard (Chicago Westinghouse), all part of the 2007 NCAA Tournament team. Cornelius served as the team's offensive coordinator.
Cornelius had two different coaching stints at his alma mater Western Illinois University under head coach Jim Kerwin. His first stint was from 1996-98 where he helped the Leathernecks to a 35-21 record. Cornelius also helped the Leathernecks make it to the Mid-Continent Championship game in the 1996-97 season. His second stint at WIU was in 2000-2003. In the 2001-02 season, Cornelius help recruit a class that helped the Leathernecks have the nation’s seventh largest turnaround in wins.
Cornelius also made a pair of Junior College stops. Cornelius began his coaching career at Joliet Junior College in 1995 under head coach Mike Martin and Jacksonville Baptist College JC under head coach Pat Smith. Cornelius helped produce eight players secure Division 1 scholarships during his time as a Junior College coach. Richard Terry (Kansas State), DeAnthony Bowden (Creighton), Derrick Stevens (Colorado State), Larry Ferguson (Evansville), Melvin Dews (Stephen F. Austin), Joey Chism (Western Illinois), Chris Drew (Southern Illinois), and Dimitri Khorokorin (McNeese State).
A native of Joliet, Illinois, Cornelius attended Joliet Catholic Academy and earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Western Illinois in 1995. He is a lifelong member of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Joliet, Illinois. Cornelius is married to Jennifer and they have two children, Chrystopher (13) and Nicholas (8).