Former Jacksonville University basketball standout and Celtic guard Rex Morgan died early Friday, 15th January 2016 at the age of 67. He was a two-year starter and helped the Dolphins reach the 1970 national championship game. His tragic death was followed by a protracted battle with throat cancer for six long years. Morgan was surrounded by his family members during his death bed at Memorial Hospital.
Rex Morgan was one of the most notable and iconic players during his time at Jacksonville University. The 6’5’’ All-American guard averaged 26.7 points per game from 1968-70. Rex Morgan and Artis Gilmore, the future NBA Hall of Famer, collectively referred as “Batman and Robin” during their time together. The duo led Jackson University to the 1970 national championship game before losing to UCLA. Rex was a very competitive athlete. He also earned success as leader and a great teammate. Morgan was named among the school’s top 10 most offensive basketball players. It was 1994, when he was inducted into the Jackson University Athletics Hall of Fame. He became one of the six former Dolphins to have his 24 jersey number retired forever.
He spent two years in NBA after being selected in the in 1970 NBA draft of the Boston Celtics. But, he gained more popularity and appreciation following his playing days in the area basketball community. Morgan returned to his home Jacksonville and started coaching career initially at the middle school level at Arlington Country Day. After his successful school coaching career, he moved up to the varsity level and began coaching Jacksonville’s entry in the short-lived United States Basketball League. Morgan held the state power of ACD, who was responsible for sending players to college programs annually and luring sponsorship money from Nike. Morgan’s style was a different trait that was both revered and assailed by former coaches and basketball players. His biggest goal was to use basketball to get his players to the next level and he did better in that and did that more consistently for a longer period of time. he was a maker of basketball players. He sent dozens of players to major college basketball program as well as professionally overseas. He developed ACD from a local program to an international brand.
Rex Morgan will always be remembered as a decorated basketball player and a great ambassador of Jacksonville University. He was a great mentor as a coach.
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He was diagnosed with stage 3 throat carcinoma in 2010. Morgan had to went through 66 radiation therapy. But, the cancer spread to his tongue and mouth in 2013 and he underwent more painful treatment before he was declared cancer-free in the following year. However, the cancer retuned early that year, which kept Morgan off the Apaches bench for the entire season. Morgan’s health grew worse gradually. Imagine, how difficult it was for him to miss coaching games due to his bad health condition.
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Rex Morgan left his wife, Kathleen, son Taylor and daughter Lyndsay.