When Blythewood athletics director Vince Lowry learned that the Bengals were losing their football coach of two years, he knew what would be a priority in the ensuing coaching search — the Bengals would hire one of their own.
So when Reggie Kennedy left for Sumter, it did not take long for the Bengals to tap defensive coordinator Dan Morgan as his replacement.
“It was an easy decision to hire from within,” Lowry said. “In the coaching profession, coaches move around a lot, you expect that. But what we’re trying to do is get a little stability and we knew that hiring from within would be the best way to do that at this point.”
Morgan, with 16 years of coaching experience — including five at Blythewood under two coaches, was a natural choice to keep the Bengals away from a complete retooling.
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“I’m really excited to step into the role of head coach here,” Morgan said. “With coach Kennedy here the past two years, it enabled me to do what I needed to do to be ready for this opportunity.”
The past two seasons also put the Bengals on strong footing.
“Reggie gave us a new direction and established a great foundation, and Dan was a part of that. He’s familiar with our program and the direction we’re headed, and we have confidence that he will keep that going,” Lowry said.
Added Morgan: “We’ve got an opportunity now to take the next step, and we shouldn’t miss a step.”
Under Morgan, most of the coaching staff remains intact, and the transition has been smooth.
Morgan said that some coaching responsibilities have been shuffled, giving the staff new challenges and renewed enthusiasm without shaking things up.
“We’re not going to have that getting to know you phase and that helps. Of course, we did graduate 42 seniors, and we had the split with Westwood, so we’re going to feel the depth issues over the years possibly. But we are in good position,” the coach said.
One thing that definitely will not change is the Bengals’ expectation of success.
Morgan sees no problem with that.
The Bengals, still in their first decade, are 57-28 with one losing season. They were 16-10 in two seasons under Kennedy and will be looking for a third consecutive playoff appearance.
“We’re just real excited to get back to it,” Morgan said.