By Tim Fulton
Lisa Morgan has carved out a coaching career of history-making accomplishments from high school and college up to the international stage, where she has maintained a remarkable level of consistency and dominance.
A middle-distance star runner in her own right under the legendary coach Len Klepack at Columbia – from which she graduated in 1985 – Morgan returned to her alma mater in 2008 to rebuild a struggling Columbia program. She quickly restored Columbia’s tradition of excellence.
Under Morgan’s leadership, Columbia produced multiple All-Americans – she has averaged three Division I scholarship-athletes a year – broke state and national records, captured several national championships and smashed the New Jersey state record for the most state relays titles won.
In the 2014 indoor season, Columbia broke the state indoor record in the 4×2 (1:38.99), repeated as state champions at the Group 4 Relay and Group 4 Championships, and won the sprint medley at the New Balance Nationals. Last year they broke the state indoor and outdoor records in the 4×4.
In April 2014, Morgan became the only U.S. high school coach to win back-to-back Penn Relays 4x8s. Anchored by the high school phenom Olivia Baker, Columbia took down the New Jersey state record when it repeated as champion in 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 break the state record in the 400 (52.46), and she earned bronze at the World Juniors. In 2016, as a college sophomore, Baker lowered her PR in the 800 to 2:01.02 and was NCAA runnerup for Stanford.
In June 2014, Columbia won its fifth straight state Group 4 title, becoming the only program in state history to have two separate five-year winning streaks by matching its run from 1994 to 1998.
At the 2014 New Balance Nationals, Morgan’s sprint medley relay team ran 3:50.81 to take down the national record of 3:51.97 set in 2007 by Eleanor Roosevelt H.S. of Maryland.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Morgan also has college coaching experience. From 1993 to 2003 she served on Coach John Moon’s staff at Seton Hall University, and she just completed her first year as head coach at Bloomfield (N.J.) College
Morgan has also coached U.S. national teams, most recently as the head women’s coach for the IAAF U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Locally she has received many accolades, including being named Essex County Coach of the Year eight times.
Morgan, along with the seven coaches listed below will be inducted into the Armory Coaches Hall of Fame during the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational on December 17, 2016.
2016 Armory Coaches Hall of Fame Inductees
Phyllis Anderson – A Philip Randolph (NY)
George Febles – Fordham Prep (NY)
Walter Hall – Mount Vernon (NY)
Tom Heath – Christian Brothers (NJ)
Tim Hickey – Philadelphia, (PA)
Dennis Kornfield – Uniondale (NY)
Mark Mendes – Stuyvesant (NY)
“Each of these coaches have shown exemplary leadership and through their support have helped countless student-athletes achieve their dreams on and off the track,” said Dr. Norbert Sander, President of the Armory Foundation.
The Armory will post a bio for each of this year’s inductees to the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame meet page.
The induction ceremony will take place at the center of the Armory oval on December 17, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. and be broadcasted live via RunnerSpace +Plus along with the rest of the day’s competitions.
This will be the second edition of the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational, which last year attracted more than 3,000 athletes from 133 schools across the Northeast.
Like last year, athletes will compete in varsity, freshman/sophomore, and small and large school divisions. Schools with less than 525 boys or girls in grades 9-11 will compete in the small schools division. Each athlete will be allowed to compete in three events and there will be no limit on the number of team entries per event.
The Winner of the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational boys and girls miles will receive an invitation to the 110th NYRR Millrose Games High School mile if they have broken 4:20/5:00 at some point in their career as of January 24, 2016. Otherwise those invitations become “at large” bids.
Admission: adults $10, students $5, and children under 3 feet 6 inches are free.
Visit the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame meet page HERE.
Current Armory Coaches Hall of Fame Members are: Joe Biddy – Suffern (NY), Steve Borbet – Bay Shore (NY), Ed Bowes – Bishop Loughlin (NY), Andy Capellan – New Rochelle (NY), Bill Carriero– Chaminade (NY), Shaun Dietz – Medger Evers (NY), Mike Glynn – Ridgewood (NJ), Jimmy Jackson – Boys & Girls (NY), Art Kranick – Saratoga Springs (NY), Linda Kranick – Saratoga Springs (NY), Jim Mitchell – Bronxville (NY) and Nicola Martial – Medger Evers (NY).