Don Corkran, who guided the grass-roots membership of B.A.S.S. for most of two decades, passed away on Friday, Feb. 10, in Montgomery, Ala., the birthplace of B.A.S.S. Corkran is survived by his wife, Jeanne; daughter, MarJean; and son, Don II.
Corkran, a Vietnam War veteran with 22 years of service as a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, joined the B.A.S.S. tournament staff shortly after retiring from active duty, becoming assistant tournament director in April 1990. In May 1991, he was promoted to Federation Nation director. He served in that capacity until June 2000, and then from July 2003 to 2005. He filled in again to manage the program from May 2007 to January 2009. He came out of retirement in 2011 to assume the job again.
During all that time, he led the B.A.S.S. Nation in its largest growth cycle, when it nearly doubled in size to more than 45,000 members belonging to 2,500 clubs in 47 states and several foreign countries. He was also involved in the expansion of competitive fishing programs for high school students and other youngsters. That also included the highly-successful Bassmaster CastkingKids program administered at the local level by the clubs.
“It would be hard to place a value on what Don accomplished to the benefit of grassroots bass fishing tournaments, conservation programs and youth activities,” said Helen Sevier, former CEO and president of B.A.S.S. “His leadership fostered the planting of conservation directors and youth directors in every state federation and local club.”
Like his fellow B.A.S.S. family members I loved Don. We’ ll miss his warm smile, his genuine hugs and his presence. So, with love and respect we salute Don for who he was, and for what he meant to his entire fishing family; not just at B.A.S.S. but throughout America.”
A celebration of life is planned for March with details pending.