MONESSEN, Pa. (KDKA) — One of the most successful WPIAL girls basketball coaches has died of coronavirus.
On Monday, 73-year-old Major Corley, the longtime Monessen girls basketball coach, died. He coached girls basketball for nearly three decades, and a cousin told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso that he died from coronavirus complications.
Corley was a larger-than-life figure. He stood 6-foot-8, had the nickname “Tuffy” and was known as a gentle giant.
“He got respect from his players, the community. He was a well-liked person,” said Joe Salvino.
Alicia Stein still remembers winning the state championship in 2004.
“He told the camera guy I’ve been waiting for a breakout game for her and it was just a real special moment with him,” said Stein.
Stein said in the previous game that she got sick, but her coach showed kindness.
“He showed up at my house with a big bouquet of roses and a big Hershey bar,” Stein said. “He was one of the finest men I’ve ever known.”
Corley coached some of the best players in the area, including Charel Allen — who played in the WNBA — and Gina Naccarato, who played for Duquesne University.
Naccarato remembers Corley standing up to the referees during one game.
“He ripped that jacket off and he threw that jacket down and I knew he was mad,” Naccarato said. “That was the only time I have seen him mad not at us but at the officials.”
“He was successful because he let the players play and he only coached and said things when he had to. It’s just a big loss for the community,” Naccarato added.
Coach Corley was inducted into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
His funeral is Friday at Christian Life Ministries. The viewing is from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the service.