Tim Corder, a former MTSU basketball star, takes a quick break from work on Oct. 3, 2013, outside of a Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department station in Murfreesboro to look back on his time as a star athlete. (TMP Photo/D. Hunter)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Firefighters deal with tough situations on a daily basis putting out fires with ice and cold water.
For former Riverdale High School and MTSU basketball star Tim “Ice Water” Corder, fighting fires is a challenge he deals with regularly while on the job at the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department.
Along with his brother, Leon Corder, they helped put Riverdale basketball on the map more than 25 years ago as the dynamic duo, “Ice Water and Ice Cube.”
They helped lead the Warriors to an impressive 117-15 overall mark and 45-3 record in the district from 1984-1988.
Those teams, coached by Thomas Hopkins, were so good back then that the Murfreesboro fire marshal had to turn people away from the school’s packed gym, said Principal Tom Nolan, a former Riverdale football coach.
One moment Tim Corder and Nolan said they remember fondly was during a blowout win in 1988 against Smyrna. Riverdale already had the game in control, and most people were heading for the exits. However, with a few seconds left, Tim Corder stole a pass and went down the court. At the foul line, he bounced the ball on the floor and off the backboard and slammed it home as time expired for another easy Warrior win.
Leon Corder, now a minister in Nashville, said he also remembers those times very well.
“It was life changing for us,” Leon Corder said. “We had great teammates, and they fed off of Tim and me. When we got together on the basketball court, we never thought about losing. Playing together for us was there were two of us, but we were one.
Tim Corder finished his Warrior career by scoring more than 2,500 points and grabbing more 1,000 rebounds, while Leon Corder was an all-league and extremely talented player as well. A couple of years ago, Tim Corder’s No. 25 jersey was retired at Riverdale, and both brothers said they hope one day that “Ice Cube’s” jersey will join the Riverdale basketball history books.
After high school, Tim Corder played JUCO ball at a school in Louisville for two years and then finished his college career at MTSU in 1992. He also played for a professional team in Jackson and in Canada.
Growing up, the Corder brothers played basketball together about 12 hours a day during the year, regardless of the weather outside. If it was cold, they would play at MTSU, either against one another or with current Blue Raider players at that time.
Back then, the NBA had a lot of players with different nicknames, so one day someone gave the Corder brothers the nicknames “Ice Water-Tim and Ice Cube-Leon” because of their style of play.
Besides spending his youth playing basketball, Tim Corder also spent a lot of time visiting fire stations and meeting with local firemen who spoke at his school. Even then, he knew he wanted to be a firefighter.
Today, he works at the fire hall near Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School. Next month will be his 12th anniversary with the squad. He said the same aspects of teamwork he learned on the basketball court still apply today when he is called to put out a fire and save lives.
“I have a great team here, it is not basketball, but we still have to work as a team,” Tim Corder said. “They gave me a great opportunity to give back to the community and save lives. This community did a lot for me when I was in high school.”
Tim Corder said he knows the job has challenges, which those who fight alongside of him also deal with on a daily basis, but he is proud to face them with his crew.
“The adrenaline is overwhelming, and you have to get your mind right,” he said. “You do not what you are going to face. I have seen some things, so you have to be strong minded and say your prayers every day. You never know if this will be your last, and you never know what is going to happen.”
As for the basketball court, the Corder duo still play in a few leagues around town, and their bond is stronger than ever.
“We are not only brothers, we are best friends,” Leon Corder said. “We pretty much stick together.”