Corey C. Laster g93
Corey Laster came to Summit Christian College (SCC) in 1989 as a transfer student from his hometown in Anderson, Indiana. Although Corey was a fine athlete who played one year of high school baseball, his basketball playing time came on club teams.
Corey was the second of four children born to Charles and Ellen Laster. His mother died before he went to college, by which time his family had expanded to include his stepmother, Phyliss, and three step-siblings.
The Laster family began attending Anderson Bible Church when Corey was a teenager, and he became a Christian at the age of sixteen. With the encouragement of his pastor, Tom Osbeck, Corey worked several summers for Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). As a CEF staff member, he took leadership training on the Fort Wayne Bible College campus, which proved in turn the crucial link in attracting Corey to the newly named SCC.
During his first two years at SCC, Corey played on the men’s basketball team under Coach Jim Hughes. The four freshmen who came in together in the fall of 1989 were determined to improve on the 0-23 record the Falcons had posted the year before, and Corey was a solid contributor from the beginning for squads that went 11-12 in 1989-1990 and 11-11 in 1990-1991. Individual statistics are difficult to pinpoint from those first two years, but Corey was recognized after his second year for leading the Falcons in rebounding.
Corey participated fully in campus life throughout his undergraduate career, and his sophomore year he became co-chair for Student Council Activities.
During his junior year Corey suddenly found himself playing for a new coach, Bud Hamilton. A close bond would develop between the two men. The 1991-1992 team went 19-11 and won their National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) II district championship. Corey was again the leading rebounder (9.4 rebounds per game) and the second leading scorer (15 points per game) for the Falcons over that season.
One of Corey’s best games that year came in the district championship game against the number one-seeded and NCCAA II defending national champion Kentucky Christian College. The Falcons had lost their first game against the Knights earlier in the season by twenty points, 64-84. But in this critical rematch, Corey scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Falcons to the 69-65 victory that sent them on to the NCCAA II national tournament.
Corey played well for the Falcons in his fourth year, and the1992-1993 team compiled a 15-9 record. His personal numbers were strong again: 337 points (14.7 average; 46.7% from the floor), 212 rebounds, and 57 blocks.
Corey would finish in the upper tier of the school’s career scorers, rebounders, and shot-blockers with 1,200 or more points, well over 800 rebounds, and as many as eight blocks in a game, though because of the way team records were kept during his first two years, precise career totals are very difficult to determine.
Honored by faculty with a leadership award and voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his fellow seniors, Corey was an integral part of the first class (1993) to graduate from the newly christened Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW), earning a BS in Christian Counseling. In 1998 he would add a master’s degree in student personnel administration from Ball State University.
After graduation Corey worked several jobs concurrently, in admissions and as a resident director at TUFW, as well as with the Foellinger Foundation’s “Leaders in Sport” program that helped train high school students in leadership and coaching. By 1999 Corey had taken on multiple responsibilities at TUFW, including Director of Residence Life, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Associate Dean of Students, and Assistant Coach in the men’s basketball program.
Corey sensed a burden for a struggling women’s basketball program, and,with Bud Hamilton’s blessing as Athletic Director, became head coach of the Lady Falcons, leading them for the next three seasons (2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003). Corey saw a dramatic turn-about, as the team went from 4-20 the year before he started coaching to a sparkling 25-3 in 2002-2003, when they finished 5th in the United States Collegiate Atheltic Association (USCAA) II national tournament.
More than just a coach, Corey proved a remarkable personal mentor to his players, including Katie Broecker (1982-2007), the TUFW Athletic Hall of Fame inaugural class inductee, whom he guided during her first three years at TUFW.
During his final two years of coaching at TUFW, Corey joined the staff of Fellowship Missionary Church in Fort Wayne as Benevolence Coordinator, running various community-based outreach programs, as well as late-night basketball leagues.
Corey then expanded his horizons as the top assistant for two years (2003-2004, 2004-2005) with the NCAA II Purple Knights at Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont, where he was simultaneously interim multicultural director for the school.
The next step came when Corey accepted the position of head coach at NCAA III Defiance College in Ohio. In 2005-2006 he coached their conference co-MVP and another all-conference player; and then, in 2006-2007, he coached four all-conference players and the rookie of the year. More importantly, the Yellow Jackets went from 6-20 to 14-11, which proved to be the biggest turn-around that season in the whole NCAA III.
By then Bucknell University was recruiting Corey aggressively to become an assistant coach for them, and he reluctantly left Defiance for the opportunity of coaching on the NCAA I level. His first year (2007-2008) there, the Lady Bison made it to the NCAA I tournament, where they lined up against the University of North Carolina. Seeing his former protégé coaching on national television brought immense satisfaction to Bud Hamilton. Corey continued at Bucknell as an assistant for two more years (2008-2009, 2009-2010).
When a head coach position opened up at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (NCAA II), Corey inherited a Mountain Lions team that had gone 6-21 in 2009-2010 and hadn’t had a winning season since 2001-2002. Although picked to finish dead last in the fourteen member Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, under Corey’s first year leadership they instead competed for a place in the middle of the pack. Two players received third team all-conference honors. Once again, Corey has taken over the reins of a program mired at the bottom of a ditch and put it back on the road to success.
Corey married Holly G. Wright g92 in 1994, who majored in Elementary Education. They rejoice in their four children, Tyler, Trey, Jadyn, and Jace.