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Morgan returning to WC sidelines as assistant

[7/30/04]He’s ba-ack.

Former Warren Central head football coach Robert Morgan, who retired in April, was rehired as an assistant coach by the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting Thursday.

He will also teach a physical education class and serve under head coach Curtis Brewer, who was an assistant under Morgan for the last 19 years. Morgan’s exact role with the program is yet to be determined.

“What a true testament to a true professional that he would come back as an assistant, just because he loves what he does,” Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Dr. James Price said. “Rank, titles and position are all secondary to the primary task, which is to educate these children.”

Morgan said he was losing retirement pay by continuing to coach and teach, and had no intention of returning to the sidelines after he retired. He went home to Oktibbeha County, visited relatives, and was enjoying his newfound spare time.

Then, in June, longtime WC assistant Rick Graham retired and suddenly the Vikings needed another coach. WC principal Mack Douglas called Morgan to ask if he knew of any qualified candidates, and Morgan could think of only one himself.

Morgan had tried to retire last year and come back as head coach, in order to start drawing his retirement pay, but that is forbidden by state law. There is no law against returning as a part-time teacher and assistant coach, however.

So with a desire to coach still burning, and Douglas having a better candidate to fill the position than he could ever have dreamed of, the two worked out a deal.

“They had an opening and time was short. You just can’t find coaches like that,” said Morgan, who guided the Vikings to a 168-72 record and 19 straight playoff appearances during his tenure as head coach. “It worked out good for Coach Brewer and us as a staff.”

The school board approved the rehire in executive session by a unanimous vote, assistant superintendent Butch Newman said.

“I think it’s an outstanding move for the program and for the children in this district,” said Newman, who played high school football for Morgan and later coached at WC.

WC’s coaching staff has been together for years, something that should prevent any friction as Morgan and Brewer essentially swap roles.

“I don’t anticipate any trouble. We worked good as a team, family and staff. When I get to be a problem, I’ll leave,” Morgan said, adding that a less cohesive staff might take issue with his return. “I’m sure it would. You can imagine that. That’s just the way it worked out. I guess it was just meant to be. I’m grateful for the chance to continue coaching and to everybody that gave me a chance.”

Something that might cause some friction, however, is the head coach’s office in the WC fieldhouse. Morgan never removed his belongings from the office he had used for 19 years, and he joked that he wasn’t sure if Brewer would let him stay.

“I’ve got to ask Curtis if he’s going to let me keep it. We’ll see. I’ve got to negotiate my office,” Morgan said with a laugh. “Coach Brewer is going to make us a fine head coach.”