ANKENY - In five years, only one team not named Iowa City West has won the boys' team tennis state championship in Class 2A.
The Trojans' daunting tennis legacy only makes the latest opportunity more enticing for Linn-Mar.
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NORTH LIBERTY — Mike Morrison is leaving a great job for a “dream job.”
“This has been on my radar for quite some time,” he said Wednesday afternoon, after he was selected as the first athletics director at Iowa City Liberty.
“Now, here we are, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Morrison, 50, has spent the last 28 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at West Delaware. He was selected from more than 80 applicants for the Liberty post, a field that was narrowed down to five finalists that interviewed Monday.
Liberty principal Scott Kibby said that all five of the finalists were ADs at Class 3A and 4A schools in Iowa.
Morrison will begin at the new school around July 1.
“He’s awesome,” Kibby said. “He’s very involved in all aspects (at West Delaware). He’s super smart, and I like surrounding myself around smart people.”
A 1985 graduate of Central Lee High School in Donnellson, Morrison earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from William Penn in 1989, and a Masters in educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa in 1993.
He has been at West Delaware since 1989, teaching everything from pre-algebra to calculus. As head baseball coach from 1993 through 2013, he took seven teams to the state tournament and compiled a record of 530-263. The Hawks won the Class 3A championship in 2007.
He also served as assistant varsity football coach from 1989 through 2012 (the Hawks won a state title in 1991), then stopped coaching in 2013 to become the school’s AD and assistant principal.
Both of Morrison’s kids — Tyler and Haley — are West Delaware graduates.
“West Delaware has invested so much into me, and I’ve invested a lot into it,” Morrison said. “But there comes a point in which it’s time to look for a new challenge.
“I just can’t imagine being more fortunate than I’ve been.”
Liberty will open in the fall with a 9-12 enrollment of about 670 students — 275 each in the freshman and sophomore classes, 90 juniors and 30 seniors.
It will compete as an independent in the 2017-18 school year, then will join the Mississippi Valley Conference (along with Western Dubuque) in time for 2018-19.
He said he will “consult with (Morrison)” on future hires, but doesn’t want to distract him from his work at West Delaware.”
Morrison said, “I owe it to the kids (at West Delaware) my best effort in the next few months, then I’m excited for the new opportunity.
“That’s an awesome district to be involved in. A lot of talented kids.
“The sky is the limit at Liberty.”
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