STATESBORO, Ga. – Former Georgia Southern men's basketball coach Frank Kerns passed away Aug. 3 at the age of 82.
The four-time Trans America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year led the Eagles to five postseason appearances – three in the NCAA Tournament (1983, 1987, 1992) and two in the NIT (1988, 1989). His teams won four TAAC regular-season conference championships, and he posted a 244-132 record in 13 seasons from 1981-1994.
"Georgia Southern was blessed to have a coach who developed great relationships with his players and experienced tremendous success on the court," said Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein. "He was highly-respected for his knowledge and coaching ability by his peers, and he will be missed by all of Eagle Nation and many in the basketball world."
"We are going to miss Coach Kerns," added current Eagle basketball coach Mark Byington. "He is the most successful basketball coach in Georgia Southern's history and helped guide the team to its last NCAA tournament in 1992. He was very giving to me with advice and encouragement when I was hired."
Kerns' winning percentage of .650 is the best among Eagle coaches in the Division I era. He coached Jeff Sanders and Michael Curry, both of whom have their jerseys hanging in the rafters of Hanner Fieldhouse. Kerns also served as the color analyst for men's basketball games on the Georgia Southern Radio Network for eight seasons.
"My prayers go out to Coach Kerns' family and friends," said Curry, who played 11 seasons in the NBA and is in his second season as the head coach at Florida Atlantic. "Coach Kerns was one of the greatest basketball minds that I had the pleasure to be around. We will miss him dearly. He always said, 'To be successful in life, you need to find you a labor of love.' Basketball was his."
"Frank Kerns was a master basketball tactician and a master at preparing young men for the game of life," said current Florida State basketball assistant coach Charlton "C.Y." Young, who played for Kerns from 1989-93. "It was a blessing to play and learn under him. I will think of him literally every day the same way I did before he passed."
A Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, Aug. 6, at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew's Catholic Church. Visitation will be held Wed., Aug. 5, from 5-7 p.m. at Hodges-Moore Funeral Home in Statesboro.
(From Georgia Southern Reports)