By Mike McClure

The Laurel community is still reeling from the news that senior Corey Mumford was shot and killed. Last Sunday a celebration of life was held at Laurel Middle School and High School, but before that some Bulldog players and coaches shared their memories of Corey.

Reaction- “First you think, ‘is this real’,” Laurel boys’ basketball head coach and athletic director Kevin Walmsley said of the news. “It’s still unbelievable, it’s just a tragedy.”

Laurel’s Corey Mumford goes high for the block in the All-Star game. Mumford scored 20 points and was selected the game MVP. Photo by Bernard W. Carr

Walmsley said he drove from his home in Ocean City to Laurel as soon as he heard the news. In the week since the tragedy he said many people have reached out to him, including coaches from around the state.

For Corey’s teammates and friends, coming back to school following spring break afterwards was especially difficult.

“It’s been hard. Everybody talked about it (the first week back to school),” said senior teammate Tyronn Kane.

Through it all, the Laurel community has been there for Mumford’s family, including his basketball and school family.

“I can’t say enough about the Laurel community. We’re a small community but we always pull together,” Walmsley said. “You can always count on people in Laurel to pull together.”

“Everybody loves one another in Laurel,” said Kane.

Senior year- Mumford played at Laurel during his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Cross Christian Academy in Seaford for his junior year. He came back to Laurel for his senior season.

“He came back because of us. We all wanted to play together one last time,” said Kane. “We all came back together as a family.”

Walmsley said Corey put in the work for his senior, coming to practice early to work on his shooting. He was planning to have a signing ceremony to attend Dundalk Community College with hopes of transferring to another college later. His ultimate dream was playing pro basketball.

“He had grown into a young man,” Walmsley said, adding that Corey had good grades. “He was doing all the right things. He really was just maturing into an amazing player.”

“He’s a leader to the whole community. He made me want to achieve goals. He made everybody want to do it and go to college,” said Mumford’s cousin and teammate Larry Horsey.

Big games- Corey’s best game may have come in one of his last games, when he played in the Blue-Gold game and was named MVP. “He showed everybody his game,” Horsey said.

Laurel Assistant Coach, family member and mentor Chris Horsey remembers when Corey had 20 points and 20 rebounds against Seaford during his freshman year. “He was just a physical, strong leader,” said Chris Horsey.

Laurel Assistant Coach David King remembers when Corey was overwhelmed by emotions and went off by himself before a game against Caravel. He ended up having a good game, scoring 19 points.

“He knew how to self motivate, which is hard to do,” King said.

One of Mumford’s last games was in the Laurel Youth Sports coaches vs. varsity basketball team game. King said there were a lot of laughs, with Mumford interacting with the young basketball players.

Jersey- Walmsley had to special order Mumford’s 00 jersey. Nobody at Laurel had every worn that number, even during his junior year when he was at Cross. Kane said he didn’t think anybody in the state wore that number. 

According to Mumford’s obituary, it stood for zero fears, zero regrets. Walmsley hopes nobody will wear the number again at Laurel. The team gave Corey’s jersey to the family during the service on Sunday.

 “I want to keep his name alive,” said Larry Horsey.

“He’ll never be forgotten,” Walmsley added.

Coach Corey- According to King, the Laurel coaches and Corey joked about him being a coach some day. Walmsley said Corey texted the coaches with advice about what they could do better. One time he suggested that he come off the bench, he scored 22 points in that game.

Mumford served as a mentor for younger kids at the school, whether they were on the basketball team or not.

“He was always trying to help out other kids,” said King.

King said that at the beginning of the year Corey had freshmen shadow him and told them right from wrong. They listened to him, but King wasn’t sure if it was because they were afraid of him.

Walmsley said he held a 30 minute conference with one young student. “We just let him do his thing,” he said.

“He was not a follower, he was a leader. He was going to do it his way,” added Chris Horsey, who said Corey loved his family and his teammates.

Sense of humor One of the first things the players and coaches remember about Corey was his sense of humor.

“He had the best jokes,” teammate Brock Hill said. “He was going to make you laugh.”

“He was a fun person to be around,” said Larry Horsey. “Everything I said to him he had a return.”

King first coached Corey in Junior Pee Wee in 2013. “He could bring a good feeling. He could light the room up and when something was on his mind he let it be known,” King said. “He always brought a smile to my face with his jokes and his quick comebacks.”

‘It didn’t matter what situation you were in, he would have you laughing,” said Chris Horsey.

“He liked to make everybody laugh. He wanted to make everybody (teammates and friends) ok,” Kane said.

The players and coaches also remembered how Corey was into shoes and liked to eat.