JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman Vice President for Athletics Allen Morgan has announced that he will be retiring after six years leading the C-N athletic department, effective June 30, 2018.
"I have been in higher education for 38 years," Carson-Newman University President Dr. Randall O'Brien said. "I've seen and worked with many directors of athletics over those years, but the finest AD in America is Allen Morgan. The person who succeeds Allen has huge shoes to fill. Allen and his wife Phyllis have brought class, character, competence and commitment to our athletics and our university. They have been absolutely transformational, we love them and owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude."
In Morgan's tenure, Carson-Newman has seen 29 trips to NCAA tournament play among its teams and another 22 student athletes qualify for championship play as individuals. Morgan, a former Knox County superintendent, has seen both men's and women's soccer programs earn spots in their respective national title games, and has seen Carson-Newman's first individual national champion in track and field since 1978.
"I would like to thank our coaches, administrators and support staff for helping us deliver excellence over these past six years," Morgan said. "Carson-Newman is small university with national prominence both academically and athletically. I came to this institution as a youngster in 1964 and I am forever grateful for what it has provided me both educationally and professionally. I would remiss if I didn't thank my wife Phyllis for her support through this journey and the next."
A 1968 Carson-Newman alum, academics received a renewed focus through the formation of the Eagle Scholars program under Morgan's stewardship. After an initial class of 72 student athletes with a GPA of 3.25 or higher in 2013, membership in the program has grown to an unprecedented 206 athletes. That tally included 66 individuals who attained a GPA of at least 3.75 and were presented with Gold Scholar status.
In his first five years at Carson-Newman, Morgan has overseen facility upgrades to the vast majority of athletic complexes on campus. Locker room facilities have been upgraded for the basketball programs, the soccer programs, the volleyball program, the golf teams and the baseball and softball teams.
Arguably, these facility upgrades make the quality of Carson-Newman's on-campus athletic venues tops in the South.
Year four on the job for Morgan resulted unprecedented success on the field of competition. Carson-Newman was the only program in the country to send its volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer and football teams to NCAA postseason play. On top of that, the Eagles' had their highest ever finish in the Learfield Director's Cup standings, The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today to honor the top athletic departments in the country based on performance at NCAA national championship events.
Carson-Newman presently sits in 12th place in the Learfield Director's Cup, the Eagles' highest ever place through the winter standings.
This is actually Morgan's second retirement, Morgan retired from a long career in education, culminating in his service as superintendent of Knox County Schools from 1992-98. The system's last elected superintendent (1992), he oversaw its transition to an appointed position when the Board of Education hired him to continue the job in 1996. He oversaw more than 50,000 students and some 7,000 employees at 91 schools, and was selected Superintendent of the Year in 1997 by Tennessee's State PTA.
Morgan's 22 years of public school administration included three years as assistant principal of Karns High School and 13 years as principal of Powell High School. His commitment to professional excellence and student growth led Powell to be the first Knox County School named "BEST" by the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce; it was one of just four Tennessee high schools to be named a finalist in the National Schools Recognition Program (1990-91). Beyond academic excellence, he led PHS through an extensive renovation program during his tenure.
Upon his retirement from Knox County, the 1964 Carter High School graduate joined Clayton Homes as president of CMH Parks, its communities and subdivision group. In that capacity for a decade, he directed the efforts of almost 300 employees and led the development of some 22,000 homes in communities across the country.
Morgan entered C-N in the fall of 1964 as a freshman baseball player and was part of the team that won the 1965 NAIA National Championship, the institution's first athletic national title.
C-N's AD is married to Phyllis Mitchell Morgan, who retired after 30 years as an elementary school teacher. The Morgans are active members of Knoxville's Wallace Memorial Baptist Church. Their son Chris is a 1997 grad of Carson-Newman. He is married to Melanie and together the couple has a daughter, Collins.
The President and Board of Trustees will commence a national search for Carson-Newman's next director of athletics immediately.