Lisa Morgan, born and raised in Newark, started running track when she was in kindergarten at Mt. Vernon Elementary School in Ivy Hill, located in Newark’s West Ward.
While growing up she followed in the footsteps of her brother and sister, Jerome and Michele Morgan, all the way from the Newark Mighty Midgets and Newark YMCA Track Teams to high school and college track stardom.
Now Lisa Morgan is following her siblings once again-this time straight into the Newark Hall of Fame.
Jerome and Michele, who both ran at Vailsburg High in Newark, are already members of the Newark Hall of Fame.
Morgan, who is regarded as one of the greatest high school track and field coaches in state and U.S. history for her dominance at Columbia High in Maplewood, will be inducted into the Newark Hall of Fame on Oct. 23 at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.
Morgan represented Newark by competing on several Newark Youth Games Teams from 1977-81, and came back to serve her city as the track & field coach of three winning youth games teams from 2004-2006 where she coached alongside her brother, Jerome.
Morgan, a star 800-meter runner at Columbia High in the mid 1980’s, went on to run at the University of Kentucky on a full scholarship.
From 1993 to 2003 she served on Coach John Moon’s staff at Seton Hall University where she guided the careers of several Olympic and Olympic caliber athletes.
Morgan was also the personal coach to Kenia Sinclair (the Essex County College and Seton Hall grad from Jamaica who was sixth in the 2008 Olympic Games 800-meter final).
In 2008, Morgan was hired to rebuild a struggling Columbia High track and field program. Morgan quickly earned a reputation as not just one of the premier track and field coaches in New Jersey, but also one of the most respected and successful coaches in the United States. Under the watchful eye and expert tutelage of Morgan, Columbia has been a national powerhouse and a permanent fixture on the national stage since she took over the reigns.
Morgan quickly restored Columbia’s tradition of excellence and added to its rich legacy with a remarkable run that promises to continue under her remarkable vision and track wisdom. Under Morgan’s leadership Columbia has produced several All-Americans (she’s averaged 3 Division I scholarship athletes per year since 2008), smashed multiple state and national records, captured a bunch of national championships, and smashed the New Jersey state record for the most state relays titles won.
Morgan received Essex County Coach of the Year honors eight times and is the only coach in Essex County history to garner the Coach of the Year honors for both boy’s and girls’ teams in the same year (2008).
Last winter, Columbia broke the state indoor record in the 4×200-meter relay (1:38.99), repeated as state champions at the Group 4 Relay and Group 4 Track and Field Championships, and won the sprint medley at the New Balance National Championships. Columbia also broke the state indoor and outdoor records in the 4×400 meter relay last year.
This past April, Morgan became the only high school coach in United States history to win back-to-back Penn Relay 4×800 meter relay victories. This feat garnered Morgan a front-page photo and lead story in The Star-Ledger making her the first high school coach to ever have that honor. Morgan’s team, anchored by the high school phenom, Olivia Baker, took down the New Jersey state record when it repeated as champion at the Penn Relays with a time of 8:45.37, the second fastest time in U.S. high school history. Baker split a meet record 2:02.55 and was named MVP of the meet for the second straight year.
Under Morgan’s continued tutelage, Baker went on to smash the state record in the 400 (52.46), when she placed second at the U.S. Junior Nationals, and she earned a bronze medal at the IAAF World Junior Nationals in the 400 (53.00).
This past June, Columbia won its fifth straight Group 4 crown, becoming the only program in state history to have two separate five-year winning streaks by matching its run from 1994-98.
A couple weeks later at the New Balance Nationals at the University of North Carolina A&T, Morgan’s sprint medley relay team made history by running 3:50.81 to take down the national record of 3:51.97 set in 2007 by Eleanor Roosevelt HS of Maryland.
That put the finishing touches on arguably the greatest track and field season in state history!!!
While Morgan has been named the New Jersey State Coach of the Year several times, her coaching success goes far beyond the state of New Jersey and the high school level. Her resume at Columbia has drawn national attention, leading to her being selected as the distance coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France, and she was the head manager/coach for Team USA at the 2013 IAAF Youth Championships last summer in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Morgan’s remarkable track records earned her yet another prestigious position as she was chosen to be the women’s distance coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships that competed this past summer in Eugene, Oregon.
As you can tell by everything Morgan has accomplished in her running and coaching careers, she is certainly an icon in the world of high school track and field, and very deserving of a place in the Newark Hall of Fame! Not bad for a little girl from Prince Street.