The last time Shippensburg University offensive coordinator J.C. Morgan stood on the sidelines at Student Association Field at Seth Grove Stadium he called plays from the visitor’s sideline during the annual Red-White spring game.
The next time Morgan coaches at SU he will be toeing the same sidelines, after he was named the head coach of rival Millersville University’s football program early Monday morning by Millersville Director of Athletics Miles Gallagher.
Morgan led an SU offense that has been a powerhouse in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), as the Red Raiders have averaged 31 points per game and more than 400 yards of total offense in each of his three seasons as offensive coordinator.
Morgan has coached 14 All-PSAC East selections and as a running backs coach the SU offense has not had a season in which the team ranked less than third in rushing yards in the PSAC.
With Morgan calling plays in 2017, the SU offense soared, averaging 35.7 points and 452.8 yards per game while ranking third in the PSAC in rushing offense and fifth in passing. The Red Raiders scored more than 40 points in five games and the team had just 13 turnovers in 13 games last season. In 2016, SU was the only team in Division II football to lose just one fumble.
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the football program at a great university,” Morgan said in a statement released by Millersville Athletics this morning. “Millersville has the support to return to prominence. There is a level of excitement in the athletic department and campus community. There is a hunger there for the football program to succeed.”
Morgan’s high-speed offense is something that he expects to take with him to Millersville.
“We are going to play an up-tempo, high-energy style of football,” Morgan said. “We will be aggressive. We will fly around. We will have a level of discipline needed to play championship football. It will be an exciting brand of football to watch. Fans will get a product that is enjoyable and entertaining.”
Morgan will have his work cut out for him, taking over a Marauder team that has struggled in past seasons. Millersville finished last season with a 4-7 record, including a 3-4 record in the PSAC East.
Millersville ranked 10th in the PSAC in points per game with 24.5, 13th in rushing offense with 1,312 yards and ninth in passing yards per game with 201.8.
Millersville is 17-71 dating back to 2010.
The Red Raiders have also dominated the series as SU has not lost to Millersville since a 27-19 loss on Sept. 16, 2000. SU has also outscored Millersville 217-36 in the last four meetings.
In addition to Morgan’s on-field success, he takes with him the ability to serve as a recruiter and an academic coordinator, as he had both jobs as a member of the Red Raider staff.
“What I will bring to Millersville is a positive energy, knowledge of football and ability to bring people together,” Morgan said. “I will motivate young men to succeed on the field and in the classroom and in the campus community.”
Morgan looks to join the list of SU offensive coordinators who went on to have successful careers after their time at SU. Former offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was hired by Oklahoma State University to the same position in 2013 and has transformed a Cowboy offense into one of the best offenses in the nation.
Along with Yurcich is former offensive coordinator Joe Davis, who has made many stops at different universities including Northern Iowa and Fordham and is now the offensive coordinator of Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school University at Albany.
It is unclear on who may replace Morgan’s play-calling duties at SU. Current assistant coach Pete Lee served as SU’s offensive coordinator from 2006-10 and had success calling plays for the Red Raiders while assistant coach Jeff Tomasetti is the only other assistant coach on staff on the offensive side of the ball.
The Red Raiders will open preseason camp in August. SU’s season begins with a road game against Clarion University on Sept. 1, 2018.