!Please Note!

You are using an outdated browser that may impact your experience on FCA.org.
Please upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer here or download another browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Once you upgrade, this notice will no longer appear.

A Message That Mattered

Published on March 24, 2023

Scott Barkley

Glen Korobov’s morning routine began with his iPhone. It ended several hours later with at least a couple hundred coaches and just as many text messages.

“We couldn’t start staff meetings until ten—when Glen was finished with his morning texts,” said Todd Townsend, Central Indiana Multi-Area Director and Korobov’s supervisor.

Korobov’s basketball coaching career, mainly in the collegiate ranks, took him throughout the country and built a treasure trove of contacts. Each morning he grabbed his iPhone 5 – there was no desire to upgrade beyond that – and began texting verses, quotes or other messages of inspiration to coaches he’d met throughout his career.

The texts were coming from someone who could identify with the struggles coaches face; Korobov had been there.

“He had a unique gift for ministering to coaches,” said Townsend.Glen

In November 2021, he was struck by a sudden illness. His health never returned, and he passed away on March 8, 2022 at age 79.

Kelly Korobov Davidson knew her father was a mentor and that he had discipled numerous coaches through texts, but the number of coaches he ministered to become clearer when she took possession of his phone.

“He was getting tons of messages asking how he was doing,” she said. “I sent a mass text to a lot of the recent people, but that was a lot of people!

“I thought he texted, maybe, 50 people. I had no idea how many it was. He was in touch with hundreds of people every day.”

Korobov coached in a variety of settings, serving as an assistant at many universities including Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Butler, Tulane and East Tennessee State, his alma mater. He was also a head coach at the University of Charleston in West Virginia, Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tenn. and others. In addition to FCA, where he was at one time the Indiana State Director, Korobov was also involved with Athletes in Action and Youth for Christ.

The end of Korobov’s coaching career marked the beginning of another one, this time focused on coaches.

“He understood basketball and the importance of a relationship with Jesus." -Kelly Korobov Davidson“He understood basketball and the importance of a relationship with Jesus,” said Davidson. “He knew being a coach was about more than the game, and he was so good at developing relationships quickly. He could connect the dots.”

Korobov, she added, “felt honored to talk to people and connect with them, to walk with them through different – even difficult – things. That was his gift.”

Mike Fox was getting his coaching career established when Davidson suggested he call her father. Their first meeting at an east Indianapolis Panera Bread began with basketball. It grew deeper.

“Our conversation turned to faith,” said Fox. “I had grown up in a single-parent household, a Christian household, but at that point I wasn’t focused on God.”

Despite the 40-year age difference, Fox and Korobov hit it off, and their discussions around basketball and Christ led to Fox becoming a Christian in April 2017.

team“He helped me find a foundation for my faith,” Fox said.

In 2019, Fox pursued a coaching opportunity in China that became a two-year stint teaching basketball to Shanghai schoolchildren. Korobov’s influence never left him, with the time difference delivering the Indiana-morning texts during Fox’s evening.

“I ended my day in Shanghai by reading a Bible passage and whatever Glen sent me,” he reflected. “He did it for so many coaches, and I’m privileged he included me.”

On April 8, David Woods of the Indianapolis Star – one of Korobov’s many morning text recipients – published a column about Korobov’s impact. The most recent Final Four was the first one Korobov had missed after attending more than 30, it stated.

“Coaches kept stopping by the booth he always occupied,” Woods wrote. “They asked for their pastor, friend and confidante.”

Glen coachingOne of those who testifies to Korobov’s impact would go on to win his second national championship at that Final Four: Kansas University’s Head Coach Bill Self. Coach Self told FCA:

“I had the opportunity to work with Glen on the Oklahoma State staff for a couple years. Since then, he has been a friend, a mentor and a spiritual advisor to my wife, Cindy, and myself. We received daily testimonials from Glen via text for many years. He always put others first and used the platform he had to communicate and reach many other coaches. Glen was a good man who loved his family and he loved God first and foremost. He will certainly be missed.”

Korobov was memorialized at the 2022 Final Four in New Orleans, the inscription on the honor citing James 5:16 and the powerful prayer of a righteous person.

Korobov is survived by his wife of 51 years, Paulette, four grown children and nine grandchildren.