Sunday, May 18, 2003

Iowa St. coach cut teeth at Xavier

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Wayne Morgan, the man who has been charged with healing the wounds in the Iowa State basketball program in the wake of Larry Eustachy's resignation, is a former Xavier assistant under Bob Staak.

He had a major hand in lifting the Musketeers program off the ground and laying the foundation for the success the program would enjoy under Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and now Thad Matta.

Morgan, who coached at Xavier from 1979-84, helped recruit such XU players as Ralph Lee, the school's assist leader, and Byron Larkin, the school's career scoring leader.

He also helped recruit Victor Fleming, Eddie Johnson, Richie Harris, Walt McBride and Jeff Jenkins.

"He was great to play for," McBride said of Morgan. "He was real easy-going, real down-to-earth. He taught me about how college ball is and what's expected of you. I think he'll do fine. He's a heck of a recruiter."

Morgan, 52, took over after Eustachy resigned following revelations about his after-hours activities with alcohol and college-age students. He was an assistant under Eustachy last year.

His biggest challenge will be putting the Eustachy mess behind him as quickly as possible and bringing together the two camps of Iowa State fans, one of which wanted Eustachy fired, the other that didn't.

"Obviously we've had a mini civil war almost," Morgan said Wednesday at the press conference announcing his hiring. "I just want to get to the point where everybody is back on the same page."

Morgan spent six years as the head coach at Long Beach State before he resigned in 2002 with a 91-84 record. Before that, he was an assistant for 12 years at Syracuse under Jim Boeheim.


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