MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

July 14, 2014

Tahlequah lifts assistant to head softball job

TAHLEQUAH — Brett Morgan graduated from Vinita High School, so coaching at Tahlequah was never his dream. That much, he’ll admit.

“You never know why things happen,” Morgan said after officially being named Tahlequah’s new softball coach on Monday. “You never know when they are going to happen. If you had asked me five months ago if I expected to be here, I might have guessed it. If you had asked me five years ago, I would have never dreamed it. However, since beginning coaching here three years ago and bringing my two daughters into this world, I could not be any happier with where I am.”

Morgan replaces Matt Cloud, who was recently named the district’s athletic director. In three years of Cloud’s four-year reign, Morgan was Cloud’s assistant on teams that appeared in no less than the state tournament quarterfinals in fastpitch and slowpitch.

So Cloud certainly knows what Morgan is capable of.

“Brett has come a long way in 3 years and I think he is ready to lead the program,” Cloud said. “He knows my expectations and think a lot of his are the same. The hardest part from being assistant to head coach is being self-starter. Brett will do fine.”

For Morgan, a Northeastern State graduate, the Tahlequah softball gig is his first varsity head-coaching job. Needless to say, it holds special meaning to him.

“It is very special. Not many people get the opportunity to begin their head coaching career in a situation like this and as early in their career,” Morgan said. “Not only do we have tradition...but we have a great future. That is the type of place that you want to be, and the type of place that I want to be.”

Morgan will inherit Tahlequah softball teams that went 287-36 during Cloud’s four-year run. Tahlequah reached the semifinals in the 5A fastpitch state tournament in 2013 and the 6A state championship game in slowpitch in May.

Now the players will turn to the coach who occupied the first-base coaching box during the past several years.

“I think it was an ideal fit for the kids and at the end of day,” Cloud said. “We do this for kids, so to me, it was no-brainer. I think a lot of it for me was that he did know my expectations on the program, whereas a new coach might not of.”Speaking of expectations, what standards will Cloud impose on Morgan?

“I expect Brett to continue the success we have had here for last few years,” Cloud said. “I reiterated with the team, I wasn’t leaving because of a lack of talent; it was an opportunity for me to further my career. I see this team getting back to state tournament and doing very well.”

As Cloud’s lone assistant for three seasons, Morgan was able to pick up plenty of pointers along the way.”

“I could go into specifics about many little things that I learned from Matt, but instead I will just say that I have seen very few coaches that have more love for what they do and are more selfless than him,” Morgan said. “It makes it easy to come to work every day with someone who puts that much heart into it. I hope that I can continue that for years to come.”

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