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Scott Morgan to Head Penn State New Ken Program

10/23/2010 -

Former Pennsylvania high school wrestling champion Scott Morgan has been named the new wrestling coach at Penn State New Kensington. This was announced recently by Dave Murray, director of athletics at the campus.

Morgan replaces Jeff Breese, who resigned to take another position. Breese was hired a year ago to revive the intercollegiate wrestling program. Dormant at the campus for 35 years, wrestling is the second new sport to be added to the athletics line-up this year by Murray.

"Scott's wrestling background and experience with building a program from scratch make him a good fit to head the campus wrestling revival," said Murray, a former soccer coach at Geneva College.

An accomplished wrestler, Morgan was the 2004 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) champion. He was the captain and four-year starter at Norwin High School, and duplicated the double duty for the Mountain Cats at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnston where he earned his bachelor's degree in communications in 2009.

"My goal is to develop student-athletes on the mat and off the mat so that they can earn a Penn State degree and move on to successful careers," said Morgan.

Morgan is looking forward to the challenge of starting a program from scratch. The season opens in November and the schedule features tournaments at NCWA Division I wrestling programs such as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"This being our first year, I want them to come away from this season being far better than they were when they came in," said Morgan, a native of Irwin. "Of course, our goals are to win matches and championships, but we've got a lot of work to do first."

With less than three weeks to go before the first match, Morgan's priorities are getting the team ready for the season and to fill the weight classes.

"As the program grows, I would like to have at least two guys at each weight class," said Morgan. "But right now, we have a good group of guys who are ready to go."

He will also be on the recruiting trail, looking to increase the roster, and generating awareness of the new sport. As the high school wrestling season get under way, he will be a familiar face as most local matches and tournaments.

Morgan won't have to venture far for talented recruits, as the New Kensington campus sits in the heart of wrestling country in southwestern Pennsylvania. Local high schools Burrell and Kiski Area are the hot-bed of wrestling, and have a proven track-record as fertile ground for Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) wrestling champions, both team and individual.

"I've dedicated a good portion of my life to the sport, and I appreciate the opportunity to teach what I have learned over the years," Morgan said. "Also, being relatively around the same age as the student-athletes, I can still workout with them.

The addition of wrestling, as well as men's soccer, is a part of Murray's expansion of the campus athletics program. As the campus' first full-time athletic director, Murray is poised to build a program that can sustain 10 sports and more than 100 student-athletes.

While campus teams compete in the Penn State University Athletic Conference of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, the wrestling team will align itself with the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. Wrestling is an emerging sport for the USCAA and only Penn State DuBois offers wrestling in the PSUAC. Home matches will be held in the Athletics Center, home of the basketball and volleyball teams.

Wrestling was a staple of the campus athletic program in the early 1970s. Under the direction of coach Bob Darby, the team competed in the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference, the forerunner to the PSUAC. The program was disbanded in 1975. Darby retired in 2006 as athletic director and instructor in kinesiology at the campus.

For more about campus athletics, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/StudentLife/Athletics/29228.htm online.