Jordan Cornette fulfilling larger purpose with his post-Irish career
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - On a big play, the sights and sounds of Purcell Pavilion are tough to capture, but on the radio broadcasts of occasional Notre Dame men's basketball games, you'll hear Jordan Cornette trying to do just that.
"I'm getting paid to commentate on games," he said. "It's a surreal experience and it doesn't feel like work. "
While the game is time to work, the rest of gameday often seems to be a reunion.
My career was above average, I had a decent four years. I'm not a guy you you think as an all-time great, but I played for four years and had a great time doing it."
Cornette played for the Irish from 2001 to 2005, and despite his own description of a simply decent career, he does own the record for career blocks.
"I think it's the all-time stumper of Notre Dame basketball," he said with a smile, joking that LaPhonso Ellis, who ranks one block behind him, would have shattered the record had Ellis played his senior season.
After his time in South Bend, Cornette turned to broadcasting to follow the game he loves from a different perspective.
"For me the coolest part is seeing it from the other side," he said. "I remember when I played for my four years and how fun that was. Now at 34, I'm young but it's an old 34 because you look at 18-22 year olds and say 'I was once that person and they don't realize how good they have it."
While Cornette has earned opportunities to call hoops across the country for several national outlets, he's recently tried his hand at a new endeavor.
"Being in Chicago and hosting a morning show is a whole new experience for me."
Cornette now hosts a new morning show called The Jam, which airs on ABC57's sister station in Chicago.
"[I'm] doing pop culture and delving into politics and local news," he explained. "All that stuff is new and fresh. It's such an adrenaline rush. To do something that stretches you and puts you outside your comfort zone is a great experience."
But this exciting new chapter Cornette is currently living came after the toughest.
"I spent all my life following in my brother's footsteps."
Joel Cornette, Jordan's older brother, played basketball at Butler University in Indianapolis. In August of 2016, he passed away unexpectedly due to a heart condition at the age of 35.
"I wanted to be everything [Joel] was since as far back as I can remember," said Cornette. "Losing him in August of 2016 was the worst heartbreak of my life. To this day, as I maneuver through my life he's there with me."
Since Joel's death, the Cornette family began a foundation in his honor, helping raise scholarship money as well as fundraising for the American Heart Association.
But through the loss, Jordan has used his brother's best traits to live his own life to the fullest.
"You try to be glass half full in tragedy," he said. "As I approach everything I do, I try to go all in with it. You may think I'm too much at times, but my brother was too much all the time. That's how I want to delve into anything in front of me. Live in the moment, and enjoy it and cherish it because you never know what's promised the next day."
Right now, his days allow the opportunity to live his dream, with multiple broadcasting jobs and one at the school that he says made it all possible.
"There was other places or programs that may have been better at basketball at that moment but I knew this place was on the verge of something special. I knew when the ball stopped dribbling and the air came out of that thing, I would have to pursue other avenues and Notre Dame was immensely helpful with that."