Centura's Coach K

In his 26th season, Centura assistant Scott Korinek has seen it all and learned a bunch. And, taken a lot of notes. He's got just a few more to take this week.

COACH K: Centura assistant coach Scott Korinek works with player Jenna Fanta during Friday’s district final win over Summerland. (Harvest Sports / Tony Chapman)

Scott Korinek would probably prefer we don’t write this story. No need to shine the light on an assistant coach, right?

Well, coach. Just sometimes.

And, especially now when he is back with the Centura girls for a ninth time this week at the NSAA girls state tournament.  This assistant coach is a key cog in the Centura machine.

The Centurions, defending Class D-1 champions, draw top-ranked and second-seeded Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the opening round at the Devaney Center on Thursday at 6:00 PM.

Korinek arrived at Centura in 1998 after graduating from Doane and after a six-year stint at Lyons-Decatur, where he served as an assistant girls coach for three years and three years as the head coach. He’s been on the bench in southern Howard County ever since, learning from some good ones, and taking notes.

“I just really enjoy getting to work with young people,” Korinek said. "It’s pretty easy to get excited and come to practice and help them get better. And, it’s really just been a fun ride here at Centura. My wife and I have enjoyed it here all these years.”

Centura head coach Laethion Brown has leaned on Korinek since his arrival in the fall of 2019. Fresh out of Wayne State College; with a 0-0 career record. The Centurions were 16-30 prior to last year’s breakthrough 26-3 mark and will take a 20-6 record to Lincoln this week.

“I don’t know if there is a better word to describe coach than ‘humility,’” Brown said. “But, I think also what he has given me as a young coach is perspective. Especially through some lows we had those first two years and then through our highs as well. He’s been a great mentor for me.”

CELEBRATION: The Centura girls team celebrates their 50-49 district final win over Summerland last Friday night. (Harvest Sports / Tony Chapman)

Korinek, who had a two-year stint as the Centura football coach during his time at the school, has embraced the assistant role on the football field as well. He currently teaches sixth grade (he’s also taught 2nd and 4th grade) so going to high school practice is a nice change of pace.

He has coached under state championship coaches Kathy Mettenbrink and Jeff Thober during his time at Centura as well.

“I think you are just constantly learning in a situation like this,” he said. “I have learned so much from the people I have coached with, but Kathy was amazing. I thought I was a hard worker, but not when I saw her do what she did here. 

“She’d get up and farm, come teach, then coach and go home and farm and work again until it was all done for the day.”

With Mettenbrink, Korinek arrived when the getting was good. The Centurions went to Lincoln his first six seasons on the bench, including state title game losses in 2000 (to Sandy Creek) and 2001 (to North Bend Central). But, including this year’s trip, there have only been three other seasons that ended in Lincoln since.

Brown quickly can put into words what he brings the program as a whole.

“I think with us, one thing we really try to do is adapt during the game and make changes when we need to,” Brown said. “He’s such a big part of that. A good voice. He’s constantly taking notes for us. I tend to forget things that happen in a game, but he is right there with everything we are trying to do.”

It’s something Korinek has enjoyed for a long time, he admits.

“I have always been a notetaker, always writing things down,” he said. “I am constantly trying to jot things down that I think might help us. 

So, there will be no sixth grade class Thursday or Friday at Centura, but it’s sure been an exciting week for Brown and his assistants. The Centurions other girls’ assistant – Ashlyn Lube – also teaches sixth grade.

“It’s fun because the kids are really excited,” Korinek said. “One of the first hugs I got after the game on Friday was from one of our students. That’s always neat.”

But, now the level-headed assistant will also hop on the bus with perspective. He knows these trips are never to be taken for granted.

“I think it’s important to realize that there are a lot of teams who would like to be in our position,” he said. “It always takes a little bit of luck on your side to get to state, we had some of that. But, also that we are appreciative of this opportunity as well.”

For the assistant — for Centura’s Coach K — the joy is in the journey, is in making a difference, in being a sounding board, and, of course, taking notes.

GRIT: The Centura crowd holds their motto GRIT during the district final game with Summerland last Friday. (Harvest Sports / Tony Chapman)

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