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Former coach will be recognized at volleyball championship

Former coach will be recognized at volleyball championship

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Former Ogallala volleyball coach Steve Morgan will be recognized during the NSAA State Volleyball Championships on Nov. 6. Morgan, who is originally from Mitchell, graduated from Mitchell High School in 1964.

In addition to this honor, he was also inducted into Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in 2012.

“I’m humbled by it. I wasn’t expecting the Hall of Fame, let alone this. It’s kind of nice to do something you enjoy and get this kind of reward out of it,” he said. “The older I get, the more I enjoy seeing kids at any age improve, especially the young ones just getting into the sport.”

Morgan’s love of volleyball started in the military after he was drafted in 1970s, in the Vietnam era. He went through training at Fort Leonard in Missouri and Fort Gordon in Georgia and it was there that he had his first experience with the sport.

“At that time, one of my commanding officers happened to be trying out for the men’s Olympic team and he got cut. When he came back, we had a lot of time to spend doing other things other than being in the military because I was stateside at that time,” Morgan said. “He taught me a lot about the sport and introduced me to others that gave me a lot of knowledge. We went to the makeshift gym to work out because I told him, ‘This is really a sissy sport, I’m not impressed.’”

His commanding officer suggested hitting a few at him to see if that would change his mind. From there, Morgan fell in love with the sport and learned everything he could from him and the people around him.

“I took it back to Ogallala schools and a volleyball position opened up at that time,” Morgan said. “I met with the athletic director and administration and I remember what they told me. They said, ‘Mr. Morgan, your job is to win.’ That’s how it got started.”

He was a student teacher at Ogallala the year prior before getting drafted. Morgan was a teacher for 47 years and a coach for 45.

During the championship, he will be getting recognized for his contributions to Title IX, which passed in 1972 and came into effect during his early years of coaching at Ogallala.

“Ogallala schools, in my opinion, has been great about supporting women’s athletics and I didn’t have to see a big change in how they treated girls sports because I thought they were doing a pretty good job at the time.”

When Title IX kicked in, he felt a great amount of support from the administration and everything went smoothly in that direction.

“Once Title IX kicked in, there were equal rights for women’s sports and we just had great support from our administration,” Morgan said. “If I needed something for the kids, I usually got it and if not, there was a good reason for it. I never came into the problem of someone denying girls sports.”

To this day, Morgan still holds a lot of volleyball camps and clinics.

“I do what I call March Madness in March and we let in around 400 kids in that. I also do summer clinics and volleyball team camps. We end up with over 1,000 that I coach and work with during the summer,” he said. “I guess around 1,200, a little more, maybe a year with young people and it doesn’t get any better than that.”

These camps include kids that have come from all over like Kazakhstan, Russia and Canada.

“My first question is how did you hear about this and a couple of people knew someone from the United States,” Morgan said. “One couple in Kazakhstan was in the oil business and heard about it. They flew over to Texas; they had relatives in Texas and drove to Ogallala from there.”

The camps can be anywhere from third through eighth grades and ninth through 12th in a separate camp.

The next camp will be March 18 and 19 in Ogallala, which is only open to seventh and eighth graders.

Bryanna Winner is the sports editor at starherald.com. She can be reached at 308-632-9045 or via email at bryanna.winner@starherald.com.

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Sports Editor

Bryanna Winner is the sports editor at starherald.com. She can be reached at 308-632-9045 or via email at bryanna.winner@starherald.com.

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