The Charleston Catholic boys basketball program didn’t have to look very far to find a replacement for recently retired coach Bill McClanahan, who left the program after 13 seasons and a school record 270 wins.
Longtime Irish assistant coach Matt Morrison has been has been selected to take over a program that has been a Class A power for the past decade.
Catholic has been to 10 straight state tournaments, reaching the state title game in nine of those seasons. The Irish won titles in 2006, 2007 and 2012.
Morrison, who entered the Irish’s basketball program in 2005, has served as both the junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant since his arrival, and is thankful for the opportunity to lead his first varsity team.
“I’m very excited,” Morrison said. “I’ve always wanted to move six inches to the left into that lead chair. It’s something I’ve always worked for and looked forward to having the opportunity to do.
“I was never in any rush with coach McClanahan because I enjoyed being the JV coach and being his assistant. He gave me so much autonomy over there and that’s why I feel so prepared now.”
Morrison used his time as an assistant to learn and prepare by watching how McClanahan ran the program.
“I learned a lot from him,” Morrison said. “He gave me a great opportunity and a lot of autonomy on the JV side, plus being with him with all the experiences we had with the state tournament runs and everything else. I’ve learned from the best, that’s for sure.”
McClanahan believes that Morrison has the skills and knowledge to continue the program’s success.
“Matt has been a valued and trusted assistant of mine for nine years,” McClanahan said. “He knows the players and he knows the program. He’s been involved all of the day to day aspects of not only running the team, but the administrative side of things as well. I think he’s ready, I think he’s capable and he’ll do a great job.”
McClanahan also pointed to Morrison’s work with the Irish junior varsity program.
“In our setup the JV program was the foundation,” McClanahan said. “We were more concerned with them developing skills, learning fundamentals and learning the concepts, and Matt did an excellent job of teaching them with that.
“His transition into the head coaching job should be pretty smooth and he’s definitely ready for it.”