Reese Morgan has been a football coach for exactly four decades. He’s changed the lives of countless young men across Iowa, but Morgan’s influence on the gridiron is only part of the reason why the 68-year-old is one of the most important coaches in the history of the Hawkeye state.
How do you measure one man’s impact on another man?
“Reese believed in me and I think a lot of the kids from Iowa would tell you the same thing…and that means a lot,” said Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
Is it confidence in the face of doubters?
“If they said run through the wall, you’d do it for him,” Davenport Assumption athletic director Wade King said. “He’s that kind of person.”
Making the impossible seem achievable?
Or simply the ability to make him cry?
Whatever the gauge, Reese Morgan’s influence on others is lasting.
“You know in my mind, Reese, he’s a master coach,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Everything he’s done has been good. Probably one of my biggest mistakes in 20 years, not hiring him on the first staff.”
Morgan came to the University of Iowa after successful tenures at Benton Community and Iowa City West High School. Davenport Assumption football coach and athletic director Wade King played for Morgan at Benton.
“I mean he’s the reason I’m in this business,” King said. “I wanted to be like him. I wanted to impact people. Obviously, he’s taken it to an even higher level.”
Sam Brincks now plays for Morgan with the Hawkeyes.
“We think he’s a pretty special guy,” Brincks said. “He’s someone we’re gonna look up to as fathers, as mentors to our kids, just the way he’s coached us.”
And former Hawkeye offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde says that coaching style is the foundation to Morgan’s cross-generational impact.
“The details that he’s able to bring to the table,” Vandervelde said. “The things that he sees in people and is able to bring out of them…there’s a certain way of coaching that it doesn’t matter what position you coach or what sport you coach, you’re gonna be successful. He’s that kind of guy.”
A coach who inspires his players to unprecedented levels of achievement on the field while making an immeasurable impact in their lives off of it.
“My youngest daughter if she would have been a boy, her name would have been Reese, so that’s kind of…kind of guy I think he is,” King said.
“He’s a teacher, he’s a coach, he’s a mentor and he’s a father figure and the level of respect I have for him in all those arenas, because he’s so genuine in all of it…it really doesn’t get any better,” Vandervelde said.
Along with his coaching influence, Morgan has helped consistently land in-state recruits for Ferentz since he joined the Hawkeyes staff after the 1999 season.