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Major Corley Death | Passed Away | Obituary

Major Corley Death – Dead: A great loss was made known to InsideEko. As friends and families of the deceased are mourning the passing of their loved and cherished Major Corley.

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Just heard the news about the passing of Monessen legend Major Corley. One of the classiest and coolest guys I’ve come across in this line of work. Guys like him are a big reason why sports at the community level are so important.


Major Corley, the longtime, legendary coach of the Monessen girls basketball team ,died early Monday after complications from covid-19, according to his sister.


Monessen coaching legend Major Corley dies

By JEREMY SELLEW
[email protected]

To many who didn’t know him, Major Corley was an imposing figure.
He was 6-8 and walked at a slow, mission-oriented pace. Not to mention his nickname was “Tuffy.”
But to those who knew him, Tuffy was nothing like his gruff exterior appeared. He was a calm, decent, compassionate and mellow man.
The longtime, legendary coach of the Monessen Greyhounds girls basketball team died early Monday at age 73 after complications from COVID-19, according to his sister, Mary Margaret Brown.
“He was the 6-foot-8 ‘gentle giant’ that graced the streets of Monessen for 73 years,” Brown said of her brother. “He was a role model in the community and he touched the hearts and minds of all. He helped to mentally, morally and physically cultivate generations of young people.”
Corley retired from coaching early in 2018 after his second stint with the girls program.
He ended his 25-year coaching career with a 460-189 record, including a state championship in 2004, three WPIAL titles (1995, 2004, 2006) and a staggering 13 section championships.
While he fondly remembered all of them, he made no secret of which was his favorite.
“The first one is always the best one,” he said in March. “That first WPIAL title in 1995, it was Gina’s (Naccarato) junior year. I don’t think anyone expected us to win it.”
Naccarato joined her former coach on the bench as an assistant when the Greyhounds made their run to the PIAA championship, led by Charel Allen.
Naccarato said Corley’s death will leave a hole in the city for a long time.
“This was a very big loss to the Monessen community,” Naccarato said. “I have always said that Major was a gentle giant and the classiest person I have ever been around.
“I was fortunate enough to play for him and coach under him. I learned so much from him in both aspects, but I learned the most when I coached under him. He taught me how to win and lose with class and how to run a program the right way.
“Everything he taught me has carried over in my career as a teacher, coach, administrator and athletic director. I will miss him. He truly was one of a kind.”
Throughout the years of covering the Greyhounds, former Valley Independent sports editor Jeff Oliver got to see a side of his friend many haven’t seen.
“Professionally, I don’t know of any other coach who was more cooperative and versed on his career than Tuffy was. And I’m sure I was closer to him than most other writers because our friendship goes back 50 years,” Oliver said. “He was on my softball team back in the ’80s and ’90s and we had so much fun over the years. Covering his teams and seeing his success was a personal highlight of my career.”
While Corley was a great athlete and coached so many of Monessen’s best players, he never focused on himself or his own accolades.
“What a lot of people may not realize was his lifelong commitment to kids,” Oliver said. “He was one of the founding coaches of the Monessen Midget Basketball League 50 years ago. I also served with him for many years on the Monessen Civic Center Recreation Authority. When he took the Monessen girls basketball job as the coach, he only did so because nobody wanted it.
“You could look long and hard and never find a more classy person, a caring person than Major Corley. I am just crushed over this. We lost a real icon of the community, a person I don’t think anyone has ever said a bad word about.”
Corley is one of the main ingredients of the pride felt by those born and raised in Monessen. The school colors of Black and White ran through his veins, and he helped spread that spirit throughout all reaches of the community.
“His dedication, expertise and true love of the game and for our kids was unparalleled,” school board director Roberta Bergstedt said. “He is indeed another Greyhound legend and will be sorely missed.”
“It’s a tough, tough, tough day,” longtime friend and colleague Marlon Wheeler said. “Everyone knows Monessen is a sports town. It was always football, then it became basketball. Tuffy brought that excitement into girls basketball.”
Wheeler said the biggest thing he’ll remember about his longtime friend is his calm demeanor.
“Obviously I went to his games, but working in the school, I went to his practices. That’s where you get to see the true side of a coach. He never was a screamer. If a kid made a mistake, he’d walk up to them and put his arm around them and explain what the problem was.
“Now, if the kid made the same mistake, you might hear him raise his voice a little. But he never screamed at anyone.”
It’s ironic he had the name “Tuffy” because Wheeler said he never even saw Corley mad.
“I’ve known him my whole life,” Wheeler said. “Through all the pickup basketball games and playing softball together for some many years, I’ve never seen him even close to being mad enough to be in a fight with anyone.”
While the Monessen community and Corley’s family will mourn, the legacy Corley leaves behind will be felt for years to come.
“A lot of people don’t realize what he’s done. He turned the Monessen girls program around, long before Gina Naccarato came along,” Wheeler said. “When he first took the job, he was taking a beating. But with his stepdaughter and his niece, he started turning things around.
“Thanks to him and Lonnie Scott, the midget basketball league was integrated and the girls started playing with the boys. That really turned the program around because by the time the boys and girls got to high school, they were so well versed in fundamentals.”
Corley went on to coach 13 1,000-point scorers with Naccarato and Allen both topping 3,000 career points.
After retiring the first time after the 2010 season, he served as an assistant for Greyhounds boys basketball coach Joe Salvino before returning to the girls’ sideline in 2016.
He was elected to the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame for the Class of 2020, which became the Class of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corley graduated from Monessen in 1965. He graduated from Pittsburgh Technical Institute and retired from a career with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. He was involved with the Mon Valley branch of the NAACP and earned a Recognition Award in 1996, an Appreciation Award in 2004, a Humanitarian Award in 2008 and a Certificate of Appreciation in 2017.
Corley was inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame in 2017.He earned Coach of the Year awards from the Western Pennsylvania Girls Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990-1991 and 1994-1995, the Tribune Review in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, the Associated Press in 2003-2004, The Valley Independent in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, and the Tri-County Coaches Association in 2005-2006.
“This is going to be tough for me, for the community for a real long time,” Wheeler said. “There weren’t too many like Tuffy.”

More details have not been released about this death. We are still working on getting more details about the death, as family statement on the death is yet to be released.

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