Read about Stew Morrill’s journey as the head coach of the Utah State Aggies and everything he has done for Cache Valley.
SSSTTTEEEEEWWWW!!!!! 10,270 faithful Utah State Aggie fans point to the scoreboard one last time to pay respect to the beloved coach. Pointing up to the jumbotron as the camera shows Stew Morrill is nothing new, but tonight is Stew’s last game as a head basketball coach in the Spectrum.
Stew Morrill took over as the Utah State Men’s Head Basketball Coach 17 years ago after serving as head coach for both Colorado State and Montana. Stew was already recognized as an outstanding coach when he arrived in Logan, but he truly built his legacy while coaching the underrated Aggies.
The Aggie coach will go down in history as one of the greatest in college basketball history. During his tenure at Utah State he’s recorded 402 wins, and in 2008 he surpassed the all-time coaching great, E. Lowell Romney, as the overall winningest coach in Utah State history. He also led the Aggies to 13 consecutive post-season appearances during his career at USU. In the past 11 seasons he has produced the fourth best overall record in college hoops, ranking only behind the powerhouses of Duke, Kansas and Gonzaga.
Although his stats as a head coach are impressive, what emanates from Stew is his affinity with the community – both fans and students. He thanks all of the fans at the games and attributes much of the Aggies’ success to the fans’ enthusiasm. Annually, The Spectrum is feared as one of the toughest places to play for opposing teams. Stew built a home record of 193-13 during a span of his career, much of which he dedicates to the faithfulness of the crazy Utah State student section referred to as “The Hurd”.
Anyone who has spent a winter night in Logan knows how serious Utah State basketball is. Roads are empty during Aggie basketball games as thousands of fans disperse to either the Spectrum or their homes. Students are a core part of the popularity of USU basketball. For some games, students arrive an entire day early and camp out in tents just to be the first ones in line. Other faithful Aggie fans have season tickets in order to see every single game. Why are all of these fans so obsessed with Aggie basketball? Because Stew has built upon the already well-established basketball legacy of Utah State.
Not only is Stew an outstanding coach, he’s also a well-respected resident of Cache Valley. A real family man, when he was asked about his retirement the first thing he said was, “I know it’s the right time to make this decision. I am looking forward to some new freedoms and bugging my wife Vicki on a daily basis”. Even with his enormous time commitment as a Division 1 basketball head coach, he and his wife have found the time to give a home to nearly 100 foster children.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to shake Stew’s hand before a game. It was about an hour before, and while walking around the arena I passed Stew as he was walking in. It only took me to say “SSTTEEWWW”, and without hesitation he said hello and shook my hand. I’ll never forget how willing he was to say hello to a faithful fan, even amongst the chaos of preparing to play a basketball game. His humility amazed me.
Here in the WestHost office, we’re all Stew Morrill fans. Many of the employees here are either graduates or current students of Utah State. Even those who have come from other areas have adjusted to life in Logan; a life which means supporting the Aggies is compulsory! For Stew’s last home game against Colorado State, the majority of the WestHost employees found themselves in the Spectrum paying tribute to Stew and his team.
All Aggie fans were hoping for a different result at last Saturday’s game. The Aggies fought hard but eventually lost the game 75-70. Although the Aggies couldn’t pull out a W for Stew’s last game in the Spectrum, they did overcome many negative expectations for the 2014-2015 season. Many college basketball analysts predicted USU would finish at the very bottom of the Mountain West Conference. Stew began the season with a fresh team, many of whom came straight from high school or surrounding junior colleges. He defied all the odds and led his team to a winning record of 18-12, a record no one foresaw. He may not have won his final game in the Spectrum, but he leaves USU with the highest amount of respect from players, fans and all those involved in college basketball.
After the game, Stew said, “They’re good kids; I’ve said that all year long. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to finish my career with”.
Stew’s players respected him and were honored to learn the game of basketball from him. Jalen Moore, a sophomore forward for the Aggies, said, “I learned a lot about basketball from him – playing hard [on] offense and defense. He’s always coaching perfection – to have energy. I like that in a coach. He pushes you and makes you get better every game”.
Stew Morrill will be remembered for all the right reasons: he achieved success as a head basketball coach, he respected both his players and fans and he contributed to the community in a number of ways. Although Stew’s career has come to a close, no Aggie fan will forget the legacy he leaves at Utah State University. We respect Stew Morrill.
There’s a common trait we at WestHost share with Stew. He coached for 17 years at Utah State – the same amount of experience we have with web hosting. Here at WestHost, we implement the same attributes that Stew carried for his team:
Dedication, Hard work and Commitment
Check out what WestHost can do for all your domain and web hosting needs.