07/01/08 — Goldsboro Boys Basketball - New search begins

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Goldsboro Boys Basketball - New search begins

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 1, 2008 1:52 PM

Pat Burden's phone is already ringing.

Just days after Tod Morgan resigned as the boys' basketball coach at Goldsboro High School to take the same position at Chapel Hill High School, Burden has received phone calls inquiring about the position.

For the second consecutive summer Burden, Goldsboro's principal, finds herself conducting a state-wide search for a new coach. Morgan, 39, officially announced his resignation on Saturday.

Morgan's departure is one week earlier than a year ago when then-head coach Randy Jordan stepped down in early July.

"It is not the best position to be in," Burden said on Monday. "It takes a lot of effort and work and time. We're going to miss Coach Morgan and I hated to see him leave. I thought he did a tremendous job and I was looking forward to his second season. He had been given a wonderful opportunity at Chapel Hill that he felt like he could not refuse.

"We have to accept that move and be positive about the situation. We've already started that process and I've gotten two calls already this morning."

Burden confirmed that the school plans to post the job opening on it's Web site, along with the district site and the N.C. High School Athletic Association Web site.

While Burden prefers to hire a coach with prior head coaching experience, she noted that she would consider candidates who have only served as assistant coaches.

Despite not taking over the program until late in the fall of 2007, Morgan made an immediate impact on the Goldsboro program. He instilled a valuable work ethic and an appreciation for discipline into his players.

Burden hopes to hire a coach with a similar coaching style that will use the same types of life lessons and principles that Morgan left behind.

"I think Coach Morgan really taught the kids skills and he taught them to think in terms of basketball and what they were going to do next," said Burden. "We have some very talented kids here and they're not going to lose what he gave them unless that is not enhanced. We want someone with same with the philosophy and that is going to teach the same life skills.

"Coach Morgan was consistent and he held to his expectations, and our kids rose to those expectations and we're looking for that type of coach."

In just one season, Morgan guided the Cougars to a 17-12 record, including a 6-4 mark in Eastern Plains 2-A Conference play.

Goldsboro reached the finals of the EPC tournament before losing at Farmville Central on a halfcourt shot at the buzzer. The Cougars lost to state-ranked Graham in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

With 123 career wins on his resume, Morgan got his first high school head coaching job at Ocracoke High School in 1994 before moving to Cape Hatteras the next season. His other stops include Greene Central and three years at New Bern before arriving at Goldsboro.

Keovanta McDuffie and his teammates met with Morgan on Saturday evening when they returned from a jamboree in Wilmington. Morgan told the players about his decision to leave.

Disappointed with last summer, McDuffie feels the same pains again and is asking the same question -- why?

"Some of us cried, it was a sad meeting," said McDuffie, a 6-foot-1 guard. "He told us all the reasons he was leaving. It is going to be real hard. We thought Coach Morgan was going to be around for five or six seasons.

"It might take even longer to adjust to a new coach, but I don't think it will impact us too much if we stay together and play our type of basketball. I talked to all the players on our team and we decided to stick around and not leave."

Forward Demetrio Irby scored 10.2 points per game as a sophomore last season and combined with McDuffie to produce just over 40 percent of Goldsboro's offense. Transitioning to a third head coach in as many seasons could be a difficult task for Irby, who'll be a junior next year.

"Basically, I have mixed emotions," said Irby. "I'm sad he's leaving because he taught us stuff on the college level and we were more advanced than other teams and he taught us discipline.

"But I see why he's leaving. It will probably be tough to get used to a new coach and we probably won't be as close as me and coach Morgan were. I'll try. That's all I can say."

Morgan will be formally introduced to the Chapel Hill players and their families on Monday. The Tigers went 13-59 during three seasons with head coach Paul Kieckbusch, including finishing 6-17 a year ago.