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Football: ‘Sometimes I have to pinch myself’ – Former Cajuns safety back as cornerbacks coach

Nick Fontenot, Special to The Advertiser, March 31, 2019

UL's LaMar Morgan (8) tackles LSU's Early Doucet (9) during a 2006 game.
UL’s LaMar Morgan (8) tackles LSU’s Early Doucet (9) during a 2006 game.  (Photo: Advertiser file photo)

The majority of coaches usually dream of one day coaching at their alma mater.

The path back to UL was a little different for cornerbacks coach LaMar Morgan. Not that Morgan didn’t want to return to the place where he roamed the sidelines from 2003-2007. But more so, he said he never thought he’d have the chance.

“I’m not saying I didn’t want to come back,” Morgan said. “I just never thought I would be presented that opportunity. You have to know the right people. Sometimes they have openings, and you don’t get those opportunities. It’s not like I haven’t been trying to get back; I just didn’t know if it would ever work out.

"This time, it worked out and when I got the call, it was full speed.”

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As a player Morgan was a four-year letterwinner at UL at safety, where he finished with 111 career tackles and four interceptions. He was a member of the Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll five times. He said there are a lot of familiar faces from when he was here, and that familiarity is comforting.

“This school takes care of their own,” Morgan said. “You see people in academics and administration — it’s the same people I was around when I was here. You go some places, it’s always new people with a lot of turnover. There’s 20-30 people here that I see every day who were here when I was in school. It’s an awesome opportunity to come back on the same field where I sweated and mentor these young players.”

Morgan had a few stops along his journey back to Lafayette. In 2018, he coached safeties at Houston. He was at ULM coaching DBs from 2016-17 and had the same job at Western Carolina from 2014-15. He began his coaching career at Vanderbilt as a GA in 2012.

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Coaches’ lives are always in limbo, and Morgan’s has been no different.

His quote: “Whatever job I have, that’s the best job I ever had.”

He credits his wife, Jazen, and their 1-year-old daughter, Kroix, with assisting with a tough career path.

“Sometimes, you can win and a coach gets another job, or you can lose and lose your job,” Morgan said. “Your family has to be willing to do that, and someone has to make that sacrifice. My wife is awesome and my daughter is awesome.

“I try to get my wife around my players a lot so she can see how important these guys are. Then the brunt of getting let go or the time I’m away from family, it’s worth it because she ’s around them and she understands their personalities. They have a relationship with her and I think it’s awesome.”

Morgan said he is relishing in the opportunity to learn from UL head coach Billy Napier and defensive coordinator Ron Roberts. He said the knowledge he is soaking in is unlike anywhere he’s been so far.

“Coach Napier is brilliant,” Morgan said. “He can tell you everything about every position on offense and defense. Coach Roberts is a great developer of talent. These guys know what they’re doing. Every day I have a notepad to try and write down what I’ve learned.

"If I’m not getting better as a coach, there’s no way I can get Mike Jacquet, Eric Garror — I can’t get them better if I’m not getting better. I hold myself to the same standards I hold them to.”

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Morgan said the cornerbacks are learning new techniques, but the system has remained the same. Year two in a system is always a bit easier to understand, and Morgan confirmed the cornerbacks are developing better to suit the system

But it’s year one back at UL for Morgan. Usually that means learning the lay of the land, learning the city, learning how to direct players in the right direction. That’s second nature for Morgan.

His time at UL is invaluable to helping the current players and future players who may be deciding between schools.

“If a kid comes to me and says he has an offer from a list of schools, we feel like we have enough that we don’t have to sell,” Morgan said. “We just show them our place and it’s a great set-up. It’s big time, man.

“I know these places will take care of you. I lived in Legacy Apartments when I was here. I know the study halls and the resources they have. It’s much improved with the way it looks, but the nuts and bolts of it, it hasn’t changed. The foundation here is great. I got my degree here and this place set me up.

"I owe a lot of what I have done so far and my future to this place. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. This place is unbelievable.”