Former Iowa basketball assistant Joel Cornette dies
Former Iowa men's basketball assistant coach Joel Cornette has died at age 35.
Cornette died at his Chicago apartment around 1 a.m. Tuesday, the Cook County (Ill.) Medical Examiner's Office confirmed.
There is an autopsy pending and the cause of death was not determined, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Cornette was a four-year starter at forward for Butler from 1999-2003 and reached three NCAA tournaments. He was the director of basketball operations at his alma mater in 2006-07 before following coach Todd Lickliter to Iowa, where he was an assistant coach from 2007-10.
"This morning, we spoke with the Cornette family, who has confirmed that their beloved son and brother, Joel, passed away early this morning due to natural causes," said Butler associate athletic director John Dedman in a news release. "They are shocked and devastated by this news. The Butler family also mourns the loss of one of our favorite Bulldogs. Additional information will be released by the Cornette family as it becomes available. Please join us in keeping the Cornette family in your thoughts and prayers."
Cornette was a sports agent and served as the director of basketball recruiting at Priority Sports & Entertainment. According to the company's website, Cornette worked on player evaluations, free agent contract analysis and skill development. According to RealGM.com, his client list included Wade Baldwin (Memphis), Sam Dekker (Houston), Justin Hamilton (Brooklyn), Jake Layman (Portland), Mason Plumlee (Portland) and Bobby Portis (Chicago).
Cornette joined Priority Sports in 2012. He was a color commentator with ESPN for two years after Lickliter was replaced by Fran McCaffery at Iowa.
Butler won four Horizon League titles and two conference tournament crowns as Cornette played in every game during his four years, including starting the final 97. A 1,000-point scorer, Cornette led the Bulldogs in rebounding three straight years and in blocked shots all four campaigns.
A native of Cincinnati, Cornette was on the first Butler team (2003) to reach the Sweet 16 since 1962. He was an all-around player: defense, passing, rebounding. Cornette was never much of a scorer but led the Bulldogs in scoring versus Oklahoma in Sweet 16 loss that year.
"He was the consummate teammate,” Lickliter told the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. “He was always about his team, teammates and the success of the university.”
In a tweet, former Butler and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens wrote:
Cornette graduated with a degree in business marketing in 2003.
Memorial service arrangements will be forthcoming from his family.