By James Bailey, Staff Writer
After 16 seasons at the helm of the St. John Fisher College men’s basketball program, Rob Kornaker has decided to call it quits.
“I thought the timing was really perfect for my family,” said Kornaker.
He leaves as the winningest coach in program history, amassing a 318-126 record as Fisher’s head coach. Stepping into the vacated head coaching role is top assistant Mike Grosodonia. Prior to coming to Fisher, Grosodonia roamed the sidelines at Aquinas Institute, winning the 2016 New York State Public High School Athletic Association State title.
Kornaker’s decision to step down comes on the heels of his son, Griffin’s decision to play basketball at Middlebury College in Vermont. After taking some time to contemplate his options, Kornaker decided to prioritize being a father over being a coach.
“Rob and I had talked and I really think that it became more and more personal for him in the past couple of weeks,” said Fisher’s Athletics Director Bob Ward.
Kornaker will be missed by both players and colleagues alike. Following in the footsteps of NBA Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer and current AD Ward, Kornaker had big expectations placed on him when he took over the program. He lived up to the expectations admirably, posing only one losing season in his 16 years with Fisher.
“He’s an organizer, he’s a problem solver, he was extremely hard working,” says Ward. “If you were going to build the perfect coaching model, he would probably fill all of the qualities really well.”
As much as Kornaker will be missed as a basketball mind, he may be missed more as a man. He was considered a friend by many, both in and around the program.
“He’s the kind of person that he cared about you so much off the court,” said senior guard Alex Sausville. “I hope as time goes on that I’ll be able to keep in touch with him because he really is a great person.”
The Cardinals are in good hands moving forward. Grosodonia posted a 194-36 record in 10 seasons at Aquinas. He came to Fisher last year as an assistant to coach with his good friend Kornaker but had bigger future intentions.
“I didn’t come here to be an assistant for the next 20 years of my life,” said Grosodonia. “I think that the ultimate goal is to always be a head coach…It came a little sooner than I thought but I’m definitely excited for the opportunity.”
Grosodonia will have a little over a month to transition into the role and prepare his players for the upcoming campaign. The Cardinals open their season on November 15 on the road against Hobart College.
As for Kornaker, the future is currently wide open. His present plan is to be a full time dad and fan of Griffin and Middlebury, but his former boss believes that his future is bright.
“I could see him going into another profession and being very successful,” said Ward of Kornaker. “When you’re hard working and you’re organized and you’re detailed and you’re a communicator and all of the leadership stuff that he did, I think that he would be good at anything.”