How retired coach Steve Morgan got his start in volleyball

By  | 

OGALLALA, Neb. (KNOP)--- News broke a couple weeks ago about one of the most illustrious volleyball coaches in the state of Nebraska retiring. Coach Steve Morgan says he's extremely humbled by this 45 year coaching experience.
Here's a look at how it all began.

Originally from Mitchell, Nebraska, Steve Morgan applied for a teaching job in Ogallala 49 years ago.

"I was drafted into the U.S. Army. I taught here one year and I got my greetings letter that I was drafted so I spent two years in the military and our lieutenant colonel tried out for the U.S. Olympic team and was cut. So when he came back to Fort Lenard Wood, Missouri, Fort Gordon, Georgia, he taught me the game and I told him I thought it was the sissiest game I've ever seen. And he said, 'Why don't you come over in the gym.' And we didn't have much of a gym then and he showed me the basic skills of the sport and I fell in love with it," said Morgan.

Morgan didn't know it but that was the start of something great.

"Just like any coach at first, what is a guy doing coaching a girl's sport and I heard about that for the first few years. And then one thing fed of the other, we got our first state championship in '75 in Class B, beat three time state champ Waverly."

Morgan has never had a losing season. Helping to grow the sport in the state, he was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 2012.
He has 30 state tournament appearances, numerous runners up titles and three state titles.
He also has 35 conference championships and close to 1,000 wins.

Morgan said, "I love working with kids and motivating kids. But when I saw that I could show young girls and a couple guys for that matter, how to play the game, and they just kept improving and kept improving, that's pretty contagious for me to say, 'I can help those kids' and it just kind of fed from there."

Being asked to conduct camps and clinics by the University of Nebraska coach Terry Pettit and his assistant Russ Rose (who went on to become the Penn State coach) put Morgan on the stage with Division I national champion coaches.

Morgan said, "My wife and I had patented some volleyball products and one was a volleyball machine, and the U.S. Olympic coach asked Kate and I to go to College Station, Texas to demonstrate the machine to the world volleyball convention, which is every Olympic coach in the entire world."

Morgan never thought this sport' would bring so much to his life.

"Not in a million years. I don't care how good someone thinks they are. You got to be a little lucky too," said Morgan.

But now he says he looks forward to traveling with his wife and spending more time with family.

Reporter: "Is there anything you wish you could have done differently over your 45 years?"

Morgan said, "No. No I'm pretty satisfied with what happened. Very thankful for what happened and we've had hundreds of texts and emails and cards in the mail, all kinds of cool stuff like that that make it even more worth while. Having my daughters play for me was big."

Coach Morgan will still be conducting his annual volleyball camps in Ogallala even though he's retired from coaching.