50 Influencers: Cindy Corn, Ace on and off the course

INA, Ill. (Sept. 30, 2017) - In 1988, Rend Lake College icon Wayne Arnold received a resume in the mail. Not having a position available for a new teacher at the time, the Physical Education Instructor and Fitness Center Director filed the document away and forgot about it.

One month later, Cindy Corn strode into the fitness center (not for the first time) and asked Arnold if he had read her resume yet. She wanted a job, and was going to keep bugging Arnold until he hired her.

“I told her I just looked over it and that we didn’t have more than six hours per week available. She decided to take the part-time position. Also, she was hired as an assistant women’s basketball coach, working for Jim Waugh, head coach,” Arnold reminisced.

It was the start of something monumental as Corn took those six hours and turned them into some of the most successful years in RLC’s athletic history with 15 National Championship berths and numerous Region XXIV Coach of the Year awards.

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“One of my favorite memories would have to be getting hired here. Wayne wouldn’t stop exercising when I dropped off my résumé. I kept coming back and he hadn’t looked at it yet, but I was persistent,” said Corn. “He gave me a great opportunity to work under him for a year before he retired.”

For those first few years, Corn balanced running the fitness center and teaching part-time. Eventually, she got the opportunity she had been waiting for, leading the charge for her personal passion, a woman’s golf team on campus.

For 18 seasons (with a one-season hiatus), Corn has led the Lady Warriors across the country, becoming synonymous with colligate golf success.

But, she was known for much more than just her prowess as a coach. Her competitive nature, persistence and deep compassion ensured that she continuously made a positive impact on those around her, especially the students she served as an instructor and coach.

“I only had the good fortune of working with Cindy during her last year at RLC, but I was immediately impressed by her passion & commitment to her players, her students and the college. I frequently saw Cindy go above and beyond to help her players – she wore many hats: coach, parent, friend and even fundraiser. Cindy not only gives selfishly of her time and talents, she has also been a supporter of the RLC Foundation for over 20 years and funds an annual scholarship that she named in honor of her mother,” said Rend Lake College CEO Kay Zibby-Damron.

Corn helped spread that passion to her students.

To incorporate service learning into her Introduction to Physical Education class, Corn would take her students to local schools to assist with administering the Presidential Fitness Challenge as a way to get RLC students to be active participants and encouragers in the lives of others.

“Cindy Corn was a valuable member of our college community because she was always willing to pitch in and help with any cause that the college had going. Within our athletic programs, she helped the athletes and coaches from every sport,” stated RLC Athletic Director Tim Wills.

“She was truly concerned about the welfare of our student-athletes socially, academically and athletically. She wanted every program to be successful and supported all of our coaches. Personally I worked very closely with her in the athletic department and in the Health and PE Department. She was a pleasure to work with and did so many great things for this college during her tenure here.”

Arnold just joked that when he knew Corn was on a project, he had nothing to worry about.

“When I was department chair and the administration had a major project to be assigned to the Department of Health and Physical Education, I asked Cindy to work on it. I just got out of her way and let her do it. She would make me look good,” Arnold recalled.

In 2017, Corn officially retired after serving RLC and its students for 28 years. It’s no surprise that even with her closing thoughts, she was looking back on her time with the students who had the biggest impact on her.

“You hope as an individual that you’ve had a positive influence on your students, and all students,” said Corn. “I feel like I’m connected to so many of them. Some of my favorite memories are with non-traditional students. They write me letters about how I’ve influenced them, and it makes me tear up. I did not mean to be a school teacher. I’m trained to be in fitness, a personal trainer, but I love where I’ve ended up.”

1999-2000

Women’s Golf

Region XXIV Champion (6th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2000-2001

Region XXIV Champion (7th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2001-2002

Region XXIV Champion (10th, NJCAA Championships)

2003-2004

Region XXIV Champion (5th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2004-05

Region XXIV Champion (4th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2007-2008

Region XXIV Champion (7th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2008-2009

Region XXIV Champion (5th, NJCAA Championships)

Cindy Corn / Region XXIV “Coach of the Year”

2010-2011

Region XXIV Champion (5th, NJCAA Championships)

2011-2012

Region XXIV Champion (9th, NJCAA Championships)

2016-2017

Region XXIV Champion (6th, NJCAA Championships)

Women’s Golf NJCAA All-Academic Team: 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2004.

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