UNC Asheville hires Morrell as new men's basketball coach
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – After a national search, UNC Asheville has selected Mike Morrell to helm the UNC Asheville men's basketball program.
Morrell (pronunciation: more-ELL) is the seventh head coach in the history of UNC Asheville men's basketball.
Considered one of the top assistants in all of college basketball, the 35-year-old Morrell joins UNC Asheville from the University of Texas. He is a native of Elizabethton, Tenn.
UNC Asheville will officially introduce Morrell to the public next week. More information will be made available in the near future.
"We are thrilled to officially announce that we have hired Mike Morrell as our head men's basketball coach," UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone said. "His experiences, especially at Texas and VCU, show that he knows how to win at a high level, that he is a relentless recruiter and that he challenges his student-athletes to reach their full potential while always pushing them to become the best version of themselves. He has worked alongside some of the top minds in college basketball and he comes very highly recommended. Bulldog fans, please join us in welcoming Mike back to the area he calls home."
UNC Asheville Interim Chancellor Joe Urgo knows that Bulldogs everywhere are going to love having Morrell as their head coach.
"Mike Morrell has an undeniable passion for continuing to build on the great success that we have had at UNC Asheville," Urgo said. "When getting to know him, it was made apparent quickly that he has a plan in place to continue to keep UNC Asheville men's basketball among the best in Mid-Major basketball. This was a highly-coveted position, and I feel like we have the individual in place to not only keep us among the best, but also help us reach even new heights over the coming years."
Named the top recruiter in the country under the age of 35 in 2015 by ESPN, Morrell has helped coach a team to the NCAA Tournament in nine of his 11 years at the NCAA Division I level.
"I would like to first thank Dr. Joe Urgo, Janet R. Cone and all involved in the search for this tremendous opportunity," Morrell said. "The UNC Asheville men's basketball program is one that I have always admired having grown up in the area. It's a program that prides itself on winning and doing things the right way. I look forward to continuing the already strong tradition of Bulldog basketball and helping to move it forward to hopefully even greater heights in the future. I am obviously also excited to return to an area that I love, while also being a part of one of the top liberal arts institutions in the country. I am looking forward to hitting the ground running to get ready for the upcoming season and beyond. I am thrilled to be a Bulldog!"
As the primary recruiting coordinator at Texas, Morrell helped sign two top-5 and one top-20 class.
Morrell has spent most of his coaching career working with current Texas head coach Shaka Smart.
In addition to working with him at Texas from 2015-2018, Morrell spent from 2011-2015 on Smart's staff at VCU.
Morrell will need to get his recruiting hat on soon. The Bulldogs best player, two time all conference guard Macio Teague has been granted his release from the University. He is free to transfer. Numerous schools are reportedly interested in one of the nation's top guards.