Austin Morgan, who was approved Wednesday evening to become the 17th head football coach in the history of Covington football, sat down for an interview with Covington football legend Joe Schmidt for an introduction to the Buccaneer faithful.
And within minutes it became apparent that Coach Morgan’s personality, philosophies and values mesh extremely well with the traditions established at Covington.
“Our core values is hard work, tough, humble and being unselfish,” said Morgan in regards to the foundation of what it takes to be successful. “Toughness is developed first in them weight room. Toughness isn’t about bashing your head against the wall or how much you can bench. Toughness is when things are hard, can you persevere and push through.”
Covington’s past success has been the result of hard work, toughness and relentless effort.
And the hard work under Coach Morgan begins right away.
“I was just approved by the board last night and I met with the kids tonight, so we’ll get started in the weight room tomorrow,” Coach Morgan explained with excitement in his voice. “We will lift in the mornings and begin challenging the kids right away. Can you come in with good body language when you are tired? Can you carry yourself the right way and strain, in the mornings? Toughness will be established in the weight room.”
Coach Morgan, a 2012 graduate at Graham High School, has a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful through prior experiences.
“I started coaching in 2014 and coached at Graham for a couple of years,” Morgan said. “Geron Stokes brought me in on his staff at Minster and I coached with him the past four years. This is my eighth year coaching.”
Through his experience, Coach Morgan has been exposed to a variety of different schemes over the years. This knowledge and experience gives him the ability to adapt to the capabilities of his players.
“We will have the ability to be versatile,” explained Morgan. “Depending on our personnel, we will be able to pack it in and run the ball pretty heavily or we can spread it out a little bit and get the ball on the perimeter.”
A perfect example of the flexibility within the system is how things were done during Coach Morgan’s time with Geron Stokes at Minster.
“Some years at Minster we ran power and counter a lot and other times we had more skill kids on the perimeter and were able to spread the ball out a lot, throw the ball a little more,” Morgan said. “We will be different, be versatile every year. We won’t be locked in on one thing. Based on personnel we will change a lot.”
Offensive and defensive schemes are essential in all sports, but the most important aspect is player development.
And Coach Morgan has a great outlook in regards to developing players.
“The coolest thing about football is having a kid as a freshman come in, maybe not very mature, and then watch them mature through their sophomore, junior and senior years,” Morgan stated. “We place a huge emphasis on character development.”
The development will begin with the junior high level, an area where Morgan plans to very visible.
“I love going to the junior high games and watching those kids,” he said. “I think it means a lot to the junior high kids when the varsity coach comes down and watches them play. To me the goal of the junior high program is making sure the kids are having fun. Obviously the techniques and being safe is huge, but a lot of times kids get pushed away from football at a young age and they don’t get to see the benefits and the gains that they can get from it. Obviously we want to see some of the same schemes and things run, but the biggest thing is to get kids to stay and play.”
Coach Morgan takes over for Tyler Cates, who Covington was blessed to have as a head coach for five seasons. Cates compiled a 38-10 record and led the Buccaneers to the state playoffs four times. Cates recently accepted the head coaching position at Vandalia-Butler.
With Covington beginning play this fall in a new conference, Coach Morgan appears to be the right man to lead the Buccaneers into the future.