Blount: Player, coach, businessman ... graduate


Men's Basketball |

May 27, 2008

This article was published in the April 19 edition of the Bearcat Sports Digest.  For more information or for ordering, please contact ISP sports subscription manager Amanda Vellucci at 1-888-877-3473.




     Corie Blount didn't finish high school. After his senior year of basketball was complete, he had no desire to earn his high school degree. This June, though, Blount -- 15 years after playing his final game at UC -- will earn his college diploma.




It's been a long trip for Blount. Journeys in and around the Los Angeles gang scene, a three-year stay at Santa Ana (Calif.) College after earning his GED, a Final Four appearance at UC, 11 years in the NBA, and a three-month span coaching the Bearcats.


All of it adds up to a 39-year-old with a multitude of business ideas and goals. And pretty soon, a degree in criminal justice from the university he says changed his life.


"My wife graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and she was like, `You need to go back. You're going to tell your kids that they're going to have to go to school, and you speak at these camps and you're stressing education. You don't even have your degree,'" Blount said. "She had a point. I had a lot of people pushing on me.


"It really hit me when I started doing my basketball camps in my hometown when I was in the NBA. When I saw the kids getting in trouble, and you hear people saying you need to get your degree. But you don't really feel it until you look at the kids who are out there and how the community is going now. There's got to be a better way. Education is the key."


It seems that's the motto for Blount these days.


Aside from co-owning The Garage, a sports bar and grill in Cincinnati, and involving himself in a real estate venture in California, his next project is inspired by education.


Along with partner Ron Watson -- a friend of his since Blount's rookie year playing for the Chicago Bulls -- they are in the process of introducing a clothing line called "Had To," which celebrates graduating from the college you attend.


"I went and looked at all the clothing lines, and there's no clothing line geared toward graduates," Blount said. "Nothing says education. We came up with this concept. It's just to promote graduation. For those like me, who want to come back or have some kind of mission of getting it done, this is a chance to represent that. I plan on taking this to every Division I school, every D-II school, even high schools. I'm planning on trying to build a brand with this."


Blount cites brands like and1 and Under Armour, which are popular but don't have an underlying message to those who wear their clothes. He wants this brand to mean something -- to promote the idea of education and graduation.


For a guy who didn't complete high school, the last few years have been quite a paradigm shift. Even when he was playing in the NBA -- Blount suited up for a total of seven teams -- education wasn't in the forefront of his mind.


Although he only needed 23 credits to earn a degree at UC, he never thought hard about re-enrolling.


"It wasn't really something I always thought about, because I was living that NBA life at the time," said Blount, who, after his NBA career was complete, was hired as an interim assistant coach for the latter portion of the 2005-06 Bearcats season. "But it hit me once I got finished and I got a chance to coach with those kids that year. With my influence, I thought it was something I could achieve. I knew in order for me to do it right, I'd have to go back and get my degree. My wife was on me; coach (Bob Huggins) has always been on me. They stayed on me, so I just said, `You know what? I'm not going to do anything else but go to school.' And I did it."


And once he finished his report on the impact of the Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Ohio for his state history class, the last one of his collegiate academic career, Blount hardly could contain himself.


"I never cried before in my life -- not when I won a state championship, when I got married, when I got drafted," Blount said. "I'm just not that type. But this meant so much -- because of the importance of it -- that I just broke down."


The next step for Blount, aside from the Had To clothing line he's excited about, is finding a way into college coaching.


Earning a degree, then, was vital to taking that first step.


Already, Blount has begun immersing himself in the college coaching culture. During the weekend of the Final Four, he traveled to San Antonio to visit perhaps the biggest basketball coaching job fair of the year. He met up with Huggins, former UC and current Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, Kansas State coach Frank Martin and current Bearcats coach Mick Cronin.


A bachelor's degree only will help.


"Here's a guy who was 11 years in the NBA and came back and finishes his degree, and it is never going to show up on a statistic," Huggins said last month. "But we know, and I think that's what's important. He wants to coach. He will be able to go on and coach."


Blount says he knows where he wants to begin his coaching career -- and he doesn't want to move away from his adopted city to do it.


"I really want to get back here -- this is my city as far as basketball," Blount said. "I wouldn't rather coach anywhere else. I don't want to work anywhere else. If I had an option, I'd rather it be at the university. I owe everything I have to basketball, and I also owe it to the University of Cincinnati. It gave me a chance to display my talents, so I could make it to the NBA. I owe my gratitude to the university."


He says this while sitting in his sports bar and sporting a West Virginia sweatsuit. He loves his university but he also loves the man who coached him there. So, if Huggins is coaching at West Virginia, Blount will honor him by wearing Mountaineers gear.


Still, he doesn't find it difficult to maintain a balance between his love of UC and his love of Huggins.


"It's not hard for me," Blount said. "My head is with Huggs, but my heart is with UC. I owe everything to UC, but I came because of Huggs."


In fact, Blount says, he was lucky to escape his hometown of Monrovia, Calif., near Los Angeles. He and his siblings were raised by their great grandmother -- Blount's mother sporadically remained in his life then, and he still keeps in contact with her today -- but he had to live in a part of the city in which gang activity could swallow you alive and leave you for dead.


"I was involved with it," said Blount, whose neighborhood was affiliated with the Crips. "But I was blessed, that's all I can say. When it was time to make a decision to do something, sometimes I got out of it by the hair of my chin. Sometimes I was able to avoid a lot of it. I've been shot at. I did some of the stuff everybody else did. It just hit me. When I had the opportunity to go to school, there was no looking back for me."


Blount did that by playing at Santa Ana College and UC before the Bulls drafted him in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft.


Now, Blount wants to give back by imparting his knowledge on college players who need his help. He realized how much he enjoyed that process in 2005-06. Even if he wasn't quite sure that he wanted to take the job.


"At first, I didn't want to do it," Blount said. "You know, I'm a Huggs guy and I was upset like everybody else. But he told me, `Corie, I want you to do this for me. I want you to do it for my kids and my guys who are still there. I know you can still help them.' And he said if you want to get into coaching, this will let you know if you want do it."


So, Blount sat down with Kennedy, the interim coach that season, and Kennedy told him how much he could fit in and how much the players on the squad would respect him. Blount remembers attending the Memphis game -- a contest the Bearcats lost 91-81 -- and ultimately decided to take over the coaching spot vacated by Keith LeGree.


"After the game, I said that I didn't see a bad team," Blount said. "I just saw a team that wasn't together yet. I talked to A.K. The next day, I saw all the old players and said I wanted them to come talk to these kids. I called Anthony Buford, Terry Nelson, Tarrance Gibson, and we told them what it meant to be a Bearcat. It hit hard with them. I guess, coming from us, it made a difference."


Now, Blount is back to where he was 15 years ago. Except he's older, has five kids and has banked a little more money. But he's also about to receive his college degree. He'll be the first in his family to earn that distinction.


"It speaks a lot about Corie's character and what he's all about as a person," said Cronin, who counts Blount as a close friend. "Just to put a backpack on and walk around campus as a retired 11-year NBA player and set an example -- not only for his own children but for our players, who he has spoken to about academics. Quite frankly, he's conveyed to them that he wishes he would have finished when he was at Cincinnati the first time. It speaks a lot to the depth of his character. He's just a great role model."

    The Birmingham News

    Tuberville would want home-and-home with Alabama in 2015

    NBC Sports

    Cincinnati getting a home game with Alabam would be huge

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Murky two-division AAC split could become clearer soon

    USA Today

    Breakout stars for the 2014 NFL season


    Top 10 Reascons Cincinnati Will Win the AAC Football Championship

    Philadelphia Business Journal

    Celek Earns Prestigious 40 Under 40 Award

    Sports Illustrated: Campus Union

    Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel finally where he wants to be

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats will be filled with fresh faces next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sandy Koufax's season with UC Bearcats remembered

    News Record

    Freshman basketball player creates new expectations


    Cincinnati Bearcats Shut Out No. 12 Houston Cougars, 3-0


    Dangel breaks former high school coach's UC record

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sycamore High School grad excels in lacrosse at UC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer


    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn


    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year


    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series


    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC


    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    The Showdown is Set


    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers


    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation

    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight


    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview


    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation

    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production