JOHNSON CITY — With a bright future in collegiate basketball coaching, the present situation could not be any better for a former Elizabethton and Milligan College standout.
As Director of Basketball Operations at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mike Morrell had a homecoming of sorts Wednesday night as VCU’s men rolled over East Tennessee State 109-58 at MSHA Athletic Center.
On the visiting sidelines of a familiar venue, Morrell worked alongside Rams head coach Shaka Smart and fellow staff members while the Rams handed ETSU its worst home loss in school history.
“It’s always nice to come back,” said Morrell, who is in his second season at the Richmond, Va. school. “We approach every game the same whether it’s ETSU or anybody else, but it was good to come back and get a good win over a program I grew up watching. It’s nice to see some familiar faces. I saw a lot of people I didn’t know work at ETSU who work here.”
Morrell, who scored over 1,400 points during his collegiate playing career at Milligan, handles a variety of roles for the Rams overseeing team travel, scheduling, supervising the graduate and student managers along with other tasks. He joined Smart’s staff one year ago after a season as an academic and scouting coordinator at Charleston Southern and three years as Director of Basketball Operations on Oliver Purnell’s staff at Clemson.
It was at Clemson in 2007-08 that Morrell worked side-by-side with Smart, who was an assistant under Purnell prior to his rise in the coaching ranks. Presently one of the most respected and sought after young head coaches in the profession, Smart has been a great mentor for Morrell at this stage of his coaching career.