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Whitney Young’s Irvin heads to college ranks

Saint Xavier pulls Corry Irvin from Public League to succeed Bob Hallberg

From Staff Reports

The woman who built a Chicago Public League girls basketball program into a perennial state powerhouse will succeed Bob Hallberg as head coach of the Saint Xavier women’s hoops team.

Saint Xavier announced June 12 the hiring of Corry Irvin, who has overseen Whitney Young for the past 18 seasons.

Irvin is a three-time NFHS Illinois Coach of the Year who compiled a career record of 449-77 (.853) at Whitney Young between 2002 and 2019. She led the Dolphins to IHSA Class 4A state championships in 2008, 2012 and 2014.

“We are thrilled to welcome Corry to Saint Xavier,” said SXU president Dr. Laurie Joyner. “Coach Irvin brings an impressive breadth of knowledge and experience to our women’s basketball program, and has demonstrated that she is deeply committed to fostering academic accomplishment, athletic excellence and student success.”

Irvin has experience at the collegiate level, having served as an assistant under legendary head coach Doug Bruno at DePaul from 1999-2001. Irvin was responsible for recruiting for the Blue Demons and oversaw the team’s pre-season workout program.

Irvin called Saint Xavier “a tremendous university with a history of women’s basketball success.”

Irvin will become the second head coach in Saint Xavier women’s basketball history after Hallberg, who led the Cougars to 23 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles since the program’s inception in 2000. Saint Xavier advanced to the NAIA national championship game in 2016 and the NAIA Fab Four in 2017.

Hallberg, of Oak Lawn, built the Cougars program beginning in 1999, and has served as athletics director beginning in May 2001. The women’s basketball program under his leadership reached the 100-win mark in its fourth season of existence, has achieved at least 20 wins in every season of its existence, and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament each of the last 13 seasons. The Cougars won a program-best 31 games in 2010 and 2015

Hallberg played high school basketball at Leo under Jim Arnenberg and continued his playing career at Chicago Teacher’s College, now Chicago State, under Spin Salario.

Hallberg received his degree in physical education from Chicago State in 1966 and earned a master’s degree in physical education from George Williams (Ill.).

Hallberg’s first coaching job was at Kennedy High School on the southwest side of Chicago. In his five years there, his teams went 93-16 (.853).

In 1971, Hallberg was named the head men’s coach at Saint Xavier College. His teams won 127 games and two conference titles over the next six years.

That success earned a call from Chicago State in 1977. Chicago State was looking for a coach to lead its program into the NCAA Division I ranks. Hallberg responded with a 10-year run in which his teams averaged 25 wins a season.

In his first season at Chicago State, the Cougars placed third in the NAIA National Tournament and was ranked as the No. 1 small-college team in the nation. In 1985, his team set a record for the most NCAA Division I victories (16) for a program in its first season of Divison I competition. During his tenure, Chicago State held the NCAA record for consecutive home victories at 75.

In 1987, Hallberg left Chicago State for the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Hallberg’s career coaching record in high school and college is 932-396 (.702). Since the team began play in 2000, the Cougars are 385-111 (.776).

His lengthy and successful career has led to many inductions into multiple Halls of Fame. He is currently a Hall of Fame member at Leo High School, Saint Xavier University, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago Catholic League, lllinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA), Chicagoland Sports and Chicago State University.

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