Alumnus returns as Director of Athletics

Brian Lukacsy September 11, 2015 0

Chris Morgan is back in the gray and blue for the first time since graduating from Elizabethtown College in 1991. Morgan, who was inducted into the Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2009, took over as Etown’s new Director of Athletics back on Aug. 1. Nancy Lattimore held the position for 20 years prior to retiring in May.
Morgan comes back to Etown where he was a four-year letter winner and captain of the Blue Jays’ men’s soccer team. In 1989, he was named Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Final Four, helping lead Etown to the NCAA Division III National Championship.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Morgan was the Director of Athletics and Recreation at Division II Goldey-Beacom College from 1999 to 2011 and held the same position at Kean University starting in the fall of 2011.
“I was fortunate to have worked with a special group of co-workers and supervisors at Goldey-Beacom and Kean who helped me learn how to manage the day-to-day operations at both a small private institution (GBC) and a large, diverse public institution (KU),” Morgan said. “I believe the unique experiences we faced have helped prepare me for Etown.”
Morgan’s outstanding track record speaks for itself, but it’s the praise by his peers that makes his hiring seem like a match made in heaven.
“This is his perfect job. This is a perfect match for him and for Etown in my opinion,” Dan Connolly, a longtime friend of Morgan’s, said. “He is as genuine and honest as anyone I’ve ever met in my life. [Chris] loves Etown. We all have fond memories of our college experience, but this guy just absolutely loves the place.”
Connolly, a writer for The Baltimore Sun who covers the Baltimore Orioles, graduated with Morgan in 1991. They have known each other since the first day on campus their freshman year.
“[The Etownian] did a feature on Chris in our junior year, and they referred to him as ‘quiet man,’ and Chris said, ‘wait a second, that’s not me,’” Connolly said. “It’s funny because if you don’t know him, he comes off as a kind of quiet, reserved guy. He can talk, he can get fired up, he has a lot of passion and emotion, but he has a really nice tenor about him.”
Connolly describes Morgan as being the “perfect administrator,” saying he has acted that way since they were college roommates. When trying to find the best way to sum up Morgan, Connolly goes back to a story of their spring break trip as upperclassmen in Florida.
“It was around 4 in the morning, and me and my buddy Pete Bush were arguing about politics like we always were, and that was something Chris didn’t care for,” Connolly said. “Pete and I are going at it, and one of our roommates is yelling, ‘Shut up, and go to bed,’ and Chris comes out of his room and says ‘Listen fellas, you both are making great points. It’s really been interesting, but it’s late and time for us all to go to bed.’”
Connolly continued, “The point is, after we wrestled him to the ground, we stopped our debate and all went to bed. I know it sounds silly, but that is Chris in a nutshell. He was always the kind of guy that brought everyone together, and that’s why he’s going to be so good in this position.”
In his first few months as Director of Athletics, Morgan has already overseen two major changes to the campus’s athletic facilities. The new track was a project in progress before Morgan stepped into his new position, however; unforeseen water damage forced the college to make a decision to replace Thompson Gymnasium’s floor. The floor was the original hardwood installed in 1970 when Thompson opened. Changes or additions to other athletic facilities are not currently being discussed.
“It’s too early for me to say exactly what we need over the next few years,” Morgan said. “However, I am very excited about the installation of the Mondo track and new gym floor and the opportunities these new surfaces will offer our students.”
Some of Morgan’s fondest memories as a student in the late 80s and early 90s were the freshman candle light service, winning the national championship on Herr Field, graduating in the Dell, participating in intramural softball and soccer on Brinser Field, bonding with teammates and eating brunch in the cafe.
For those that know Morgan well, there was never a doubt that he was the right fit for this position.
“When he interviewed for this job, I knew he would nail it,” Connolly said. “You can’t get his personality and his demeanor through a phone call or emails. You have to sit down with him, and when you walk out of a room with him you think, ‘Wow, this guy is pretty impressive.’ What you see is what you get with him, and he fits Etown perfectly. He’s not looking for his next job. This is his dream job, and it’s a position he could be in for decades.”
Etown athletics have maintained stability at the top with Ken Ober and Lattimore holding the Director of Athletics position for 34 years combined. Morgan will provide the stability the College has become accustomed to for so long.
“Etown was always my dream job, and it is the type of environment in which my wife and I want to raise our children.”
Welcome home, Chris.

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