Texas Longhorns assistant coach Mike Morrell is moving on to become the next head coach at UNC-Asheville, according to multiple reports.
UNC-Asheville has confirmed the hire on Twitter, as well.
— Asheville Athletics (@ashevilledogs) April 11, 2018
After previously working as an assistant under Shaka Smart at VCU, Morrell has been on Smart’s staff at Texas since he was hired in 2014. After initially being brought abroad as an assistant coach, Morrell gave up his seat on the bench to become the director of program development for a year in order for Texas to retain Jai Lucas. The following year, after Texas declined the renew David Cason’s contract, Morrell returned to his previous role as assistant coach for the 2017-18 season.
Morrell has worked under Smart in some capacity since 2011, and has since developed a reputation as a strong recruiter.
“I’m extremely happy for Mike. He is driven, diligent and tremendously hard working,” Smart said in a statement, per the school. “He does a phenomenal job connecting with student-athletes, parents, recruits and supporters. UNC Asheville is getting a terrific head coach!”
Now headed to UNC-Asheville, Morrell will replace Nick McDevitt, who departed from the program last month to become the new head coach at Middle Tennessee.
UNC-Asheville will be Morrell’s first stop as a head coach.
“I would like to first thank Dr. Joe Urgo, Janet R. Cone and all involved in the search for this tremendous opportunity,” Morrell said in a statement, per UNC-Asheville. “The UNC Asheville men’s basketball program is one that I have always admired having grown up in the area. It’s a program that prides itself on winning and doing things the right way. I look forward to continuing the already strong tradition of Bulldog basketball and helping to move it forward to hopefully even greater heights in the future. I am obviously also excited to return to an area that I love, while also being a part of one of the top liberal arts institutions in the country. I am looking forward to hitting the ground running to get ready for the upcoming season and beyond. I am thrilled to be a Bulldog!”
Former Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor and current Longhorns power forward Dylan Osetkowski took to Twitter to congratulate Morrell on the move:
Got a good one . https://t.co/POBJDCNpv2
— Isaiah Taylor (@Zay_Ctmd11) April 11, 2018
All jokes aside really happy for my guy @CoachMMorrell !!!! Gunna be missed!
— DO (@DylanOsetkowski) April 11, 2018
This story will be updated.