Mark Cornelius has been promoted to head coach of the Falcon basketball Team.
Cornelius assumes the position following the resignation of Coach Marty Smith. During the past year, and especially in recent months, Smith’s parents have experienced a decline in health which has created a situation where Smith needs to be back to Birmingham, Ala., as the caregiver for his parents.
Cornelius began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Alabama from 1988-1990. During his time at Alabama, he was responsible for scouting, player development and practice. While a graduate assistant at Alabama, Alabama saw two Sweet Sixteen appearances, two SEC tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament Bids.
Cornelius then served as athletic director and head men’s basketball coach at Shelton State Community College from 1990 to 1998. While at Shelton State, he oversaw all men’s and women’s sports, which included basketball, softball, baseball and golf. He oversaw staffing and budgeting for all sports. He set up and developed the school’s first basketball program in 1990. While at Shelton State, the university made it to the regional semi-finals in 1993 and 1998.
From 1998 to 2008, Cornelius served as head boys’ basketball coach, assistant football coach, head girls’ golf coach and head coach of JV girls’ soccer at Mountain Brook High School. When Cornelius was the Spartans’ boys’ coach, he averaged 20 wins per season, led them to three Elite 8 Appearances, five regional Sweet Sixteen appearances and a Final Four berth in 2001. His 2005 team won 28 games, which set a school record. He left as the Spartans’ winningest boys’ head coach.
From 2008 to 2011 Cornelius served as head boys’ basketball coach, head freshman football coach, head cross country coach and head boys’ golf at Gardendale High School. In 2011, he returned to Mountain Brook as the head girls’ basketball coach, assistant freshman football and head JV girls’ soccer coach. While at Mountain Brook, Cornelius saw five straight 20-win seasons, five consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances and three Area Titles.
Cornelius retired in 2017 to join Smith’s staff here at LCHS. Cornelius’ promotion provides an excellent track record of success and allows the program continuity with the players, as well as building on the foundation laid by Smith. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and his masters from the University of Alabama. Cornelius is married to Donna, and they have two children, Chase and Lexi. He and his wife look forward to getting involved in the community.
Garth Garris, LCHS principal, thanked Smith for two great years at LCHS and wished him and his family the best.
“I hope with him returning home that he will be better able to take care of his family,” he said.
“We are excited to have Coach Cornelius take over the boys’ program at LCHS,” Garris added. “He has served as an assistant the past two years here and provides our program with continuity as we move forward. We look forward to the future of the boys’ program with Coach Cornelius at the helm.”