July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Boys basketball: North Ridgeville hires Bryan Morgan

Good things come to those who wait.
For Bryan Morgan, the wait to return to the sidelines as a high school basketball coach has come to an end with a new beginning.
Morgan was named the boys basketball coach at North Ridgeville High School, two years after he last led the Black River Pirates onto the floor. He takes over for Bill Noggle, who resigned for family reasons.
“I’m very proud to be a part of the athletic community at North Ridgeville,” Morgan said Friday. “To be a teacher and have the pride of teaching in the district, and now I’m in charge of one of the major programs is something very special to me.”
Morgan just completed his second year as a health and physical education teacher at North Ridgeville. He previously taught and coached at Black River, but was let go in one of the largest cuts in school history. Due to a lack of funding and the decreasing property values in Medina County, Morgan was part of a teaching staff that lost 25 percent of its positions.
North Ridgeville athletic director Nori Okuma said Morgan had all of the qualities he and the committee were looking for: character, integrity and a strong belief in the educational process as the most important thing in a student-athlete’s life.
“I could not be more happy,” Okuma said. “The fact that he was in our building and coached in our program last year, I had a chance to really see what kind of coach he was and we couldn’t have been more fortunate to get someone like Bryan Morgan’s quality and have somebody like him walk into our program after losing somebody like Bill Noggle.
“When we interviewed him, I told the committee that we had to be 100 percent sure we wouldn’t find anybody better,” he added. “After he walked out of the interview, I was positive we had our next basketball coach. He was very professional. He was excited, enthusiastic and he encompasses everything I want in a head coach.”
Morgan will take over a program that made it to the Division I regional final after upsetting the Mentor Cardinals in the semifinals just three years ago. However, after heavy graduation losses, the Rangers have struggled.
They went 9-13 in 2010-11 and 1-20 last season. Morgan, however, is no stranger to turning around a program.
When he was hired at Black River in 2007, the Pirates were coming off a 4-17 season. In his second year, the team went 12-9 for its first winning record in more than a decade and just the third since 1969. In three years at Black River, Morgan’s teams went 29-35.
“We were able to win seven games (my first year) just by teaching fundamentals and trying to get the kids to play hard every single time they get on the floor and build the program up to the point where a .500 season was your worst season,” Morgan said. “I think it translates a lot to North Ridgeville because the kids are the same. They come from blue-collar, hard-working families.
“We’re going to try to be a team that takes advantage in the open court. I want to be able to come down and score in transition, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a run-and-gun. I want to be a smart basketball team in those situations and be a hard-nosed defensive team.”
Contact Matt Florjancic at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.