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Sandy Journal

Alta’s Morgan Brown selected as Athletic Director of the Year

Jan 21, 2019 02:01PM ● By Ron Bevan

Alta athletic director Morgan Brown was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Utah High School Activities Association. Brown has been the athletic director at Alta for 18 years, and taught at the school for 30. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)

By Ron Bevan | r.bevan@mycityjournals.com

You will see him at nearly every athletic event happening with an Alta High School team. Never part of the action, but always with a hand in what is occurring on the field, the court, the track. He isn’t listed in any of the statistics. For those just watching the event, he is a ghost.

But you would notice if Morgan Brown wasn’t doing what he does daily for Alta. Without him, the buses wouldn’t be driving the teams to the next event. Without him, students couldn’t sign up to participate.

“It all comes down to that I love teenagers and I love working with them,” Brown said of his duties as athletic director. “They are good kids, and they keep me young. It is truly a privilege to be able to work with them.”

Brown, the athletic director at Alta High School, was recently honored for his years of hard work for the Hawks, being named the Athletic Director of the Year by the Utah High School Athletics Association (UHSAA).

“When we are selecting our yearly awards, we look at a lot of things,” Rob Cuff, executive director for the UHSAA said. “We look at longevity, quality of work and how the person is respected by their peers. Brown rates very high in all of those areas.

Brown has been the athletic director at Alta for 18 years. Throughout that time he has taken his role to heart. He doesn’t care if it is a freshman game or a varsity game. He doesn’t care of it is a boys or girls team playing. He doesn’t care if it is football or tennis. He shows up to see how the students are doing and how Alta is being represented.

“He is one of the guys that is working in the trenches and works very hard. He is not only an advocate for the student athlete, but also the coaches and staff,” Cuff said. “His humility is what shines through about him. He is always approachable. He also makes it a point to do the right thing at the right time, and sometimes that isn’t the easiest way but the hardest way. He still does it.”

“He is here for all the games and loves what he does,” added Alta Principal Brian McGill. “He is very passionate about serving the kids and the school in his capacity.”

Being an athletic director wasn’t on Brown’s radar when he first came to Alta. He was just trying to get closer to home. He had begun his teaching and coaching careers at Woods Cross High School in Bountiful.

“I was at Woods Cross for five years,” Brown said. “I was coaching football and track. I thought I was living out my dream.”

When he did apply to transfer to Alta, he was instead assigned to teach at Oquirhh Hills Middle School. As the school year got closer and football practices began, Brown found himself off the field for the first time in years.

“I was not doing anything and two-a-day practices had begun for football,” Brown said. “It was strange as I was always involved with the football program by then.”

But his disappointment didn’t last long. Before the school year even started Brown got a call to join the football coaching staff at Alta, and was also offered a teaching spot.

“I never did end up at Oquirhh Hills,” Brown said.

Brown spent 15 years on the football coaching staff, and also coached the Hawks’ track team the same number of years. Under his tutelage, Alta won a state track championship in 1993.

Brown’s love for athletics began when he was a young man. He represented Lehi High School as a student athlete, competing in football, basketball and track. He was selected first team All-State for football as a senior and also was a state champion in track.

Brown graduated from Utah State University in 1982 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education.

“He was my P.E. teacher when I was a junior in 1989,” McGill said. “It is kind of fun to work in my capacity as a principal with a former teacher of mine.”

When a need for a new athletic director came about in 2000, it was almost a no-brainer to give the job to Brown. He has been at it for 18 years now, coordinating all the coaches’ needs and travel schedules along with making sure students are eligible to compete. He is even the one to turn in academic All-State honors for student athletes.

But being the athletic director is only part of the story surrounding Brown at Alta. He is also the supervisor of the driver’s education program, responsible for safely putting hundreds of students behind the wheel and on the road. He also teaches courses during the school day.

To accomplish all this, Brown is sometimes at the school at 5 a.m. to take students out on the road before school starts. Sometimes he doesn’t leave until 9 p.m. the same day, staying until the final whistle is blown in the game that night. Sometimes when two teams are playing at the same time, Brown will attend the first half at one of them, then drive to where the other team is playing to see its finale.

 “Not only does he teach driver’s ed, but he also tutors students in math,” McGill said. “He also schedules any and all events that happen at the school, not just athletics. He is a jack of all trades, and very valuable to Alta as well as the community of Sandy. He has been here so long and given so much to the kids. He has invested 30-plus years to this community. How many people can say that?”

Brown plans on at least two more years at Alta, then he will begin to decide when it will be time for him to retire.

“In this day and age with coaches coming and going at a rapid pace, being an athletic director for 18 years and working at the same school for 30 years is an achievement in and of itself,” Cuff said. “Stability, community, hard work and integrity is the legacy Brown will leave when he finally retires from Alta.”