In her 14th year as a collegiate coach, UM’s Debra Morgan enters her sixth season at the helm of the University of Miami rowing team in 2006 as the Hurricanes move into their third season in the tradition-rich Atlantic Coast Conference.
Since taking over at Miami in August of 2001, Morgan has transformed the Hurricane rowing program into one of national recognition, building on a solid foundation she has set based on a strong work ethic and a desire to become one of the country’s best.
Last season, the Hurricanes had 11 rowers named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll while the team received an ACC Spring Sportsmanship Award. The ACC presents the award to in an effort to recognize teams who earned the utmost regard from their peers during competition.
Morgan returns 24 letterwinners from 2006, including senior Sarah Conlon who was named All-ACC selection following a standout junior year.
Building the Hurricanes
In 2001-02, her first season at Miami, Morgan led the Hurricanes to a number of accomplishments including first-place finishes by the varsity eight and varsity four crews on their way to an overall third-place finish at the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.
With a full year of coaching under her belt, Morgan took the Hurricanes to a new level in 2002-03 highlighted by wins at the Head of the Creek, Head of the Chattahoochee, Chattahoochee Chase and the Florida Fall Freshman Regatta while posting a sixth-place finishes at the BIG EAST Challenge and the NCAA South Region Championships. Morgan also led the Hurricanes to another first in 2002-03 as UM rower Jenny Krawec became the first Hurricane to be named to the CRCA All-America team, drawing second team honors in addition to being name a CRCA All-South Region First Team selection.
In 2003-04, Morgan once again set a new precedence at UM. The Hurricanes kicked off the fall season with an overall team point title at the Head of the Chattahoochee Regatta and an undefeated junior varsity eight.
Morgan’s Hurricanes returned in the spring without missing a beat, taking six first-place finishes as the host of the First Annual Hurricane Invitational and placing second overall in the California Cup standings at the 2004 San Diego Crew Classic featuring some of the nation’s best teams.
The Hurricanes then swept the field at the 2004 Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, placing first in all eight events entered to take the state title. The Hurricanes then competed at the BIG EAST Challenge where they medaled in all events entered, which resulted in a second place standing in the conference, marking the highest conference finish in school history.
Under Morgan’s direction, Jenny Krawec drew CRCA All-America Second Team accolades and was named to the CRCA All-South Region First Team for the second consecutive season.
In 2005-2006, the Hurricanes enjoyed many firsts including their first-ever trip to the Rivanna Romp. The junior varsity eight also joined the varsity eight crew at the San Diego Crew Classic where it reached the Petit Final in only its first year at the event. The varsity eight squad reached the Grand Final of the Women’s Cal Cup.
Morgan began her coaching career in 1993 when she was named the head coach at the University of California, Irvine where she led the Anteaters varsity eight to a bronze medal at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships.
Morgan left UCI in 1996, moving on to Kansas State where she served as an assistant coach, overseeing the Wildcat’s novice crew while coordinating KSU’s recruiting efforts. Under Morgan’s guidance, the Wildcat’s novice four placed fourth at the Midwest Championships.
After a one-year stint at Kansas State, Morgan was named the Director of Rowing at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1997 prior to joining the UM coaching staff. At UCSB, Morgan oversaw both a men’s and women’s rowing program that consistently placed among the top in the country year-in and year-out while making a mark as one of the west coast’s most dominant teams.
In June of 2004, Morgan’s coaching resume was nationally recognized as she spent two weeks as a guest coach at the U.S. Junior National Team Development Camp in New London, Connecticut.
A Prolific Background
Morgan, herself, was an accomplished rower on the collegiate level, rowing at the University of Southern California from 1987-1992. As a member of the USC rowing team she lead the Trojans to a California Cup title at the San Diego Crew Classic as a member of the USC varsity eight. Morgan also helped USC to a bronze medal at the Pac-10 Championships and a fifth-place finish at the Collegiate National Championships rowing with the Trojans varsity four. A four-year letterwinner at USC, Morgan was also a Pac-10 All Conference Team selection.
Following her graduation from USC in 1992, Morgan was invited to join the United State National Development Camp where she helped lead the U.S. to a second-place finish in the quad at the World University Games trials and a fourth-place finish in both the four and the quad at the U.S. National Championships. In 1993 she was invited to attend the U.S. National Team Selection Camp in Seattle, Washington.
In 1994, she was selected to attend a pre-elite sculling camp in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in 1995 she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Festival in the women’s single where she won gold.
Born in Boulder, Colorado, Morgan grew up in Tucson, Arizona before going on to USC, where she graduated with a degree in English in 1992. In the spring of 2006, Morgan completed her master’s degree in sports administration with an emphasis in international administration at UM.