After more than 14 years of experience as an Assistant Coach at the Division I level, Morgan Valley retuned to the state where she won three National Championships as a player at UConn when she was named the new Head Coach at the University of Hartford.
Can you take us through the interview process and your emotion once you received the call that you would be new Head Coach at Hartford?
Now that I look back, the interview process went pretty quickly. Start to finish it was about a week and a half, but when I was going through it, it seemed like it was forever. Mary Ellen (Hartford’s Director of Athletics) gave me a call and was amazing in respecting that we (Arizona) were still playing for a Championship in the WNIT. After we won, she text me and we set up a time to talk that following Monday. I had phone interviews with two other people and then she flew to Tucson to meet with me. We were at dinner and after we had talked about pretty much everything she offered me the job. I was very emotional. This had been a goal of mine for quiet sometime and for it to finally be a reality was literally a dream come true.
Having both played and coached at a high level, how did your experience coaching at the mid-major level (Holy Cross, New Hampshire, Towson) best prepare you to take over the Hartford program?
I truly believe I could have been an Assistant Coach for the next 20 years and I would still be learning from each player I coached, each person I worked alongside, and every Head Coach I worked for. But having multiple experience with so many different people and places has really helped me feel comfortable in taking on this next role as a Head Coach.
When you coach at a smaller school, you do everything. You don’t have GA’s and DOBO’s. When I was at Holy Cross, I booked the buses and hotel rooms. When I went to Towson, I was give the responsibility of recruiting Junior College players. At UMass, we dove into the international scene. I think it just really allowed me to gain valuable experiences; from drawing up play’s to implementing defenses to being asked to do different things on a daily basis by every person I was working for.
What qualities were important to you in putting together your first coaching staff?
Trust, knowledge of the game, and work-ethic. I wanted to work with people who have been in these athlete’s shoes, who knew what the daily demands of a student-athlete are. People who were willing to work extremely hard to get this thing to where we want it to get. I think the group we have here is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to go to battle with.
After your first few months as a first-time DI Head Coach, what advice do you have for Division I assistant coaches who desire to become a DI Head Coach?
You’ll never “be ready”. If it’s a goal, chase it. You never know when your opportunity will arise, but if you work hard and you do the right things, someone will notice and the people who you lean on will do anything to help you reach those goals. Never compare yourself to others. Everyone’s timeline is different!