AURORA | Morgan Gregory doesn’t yet know what he wants to do in the future, but he knew a change needed to happen.
So Gregory amicably stepped away from the Cherokee Trail boys basketball program he’s headed for the past seven seasons to make sure both can make a fresh start.
Gregory’s last game on the bench for the Cougars came Feb. 24 with a second round Class 5A state playoff loss at Grandview, a result that capped an 11-14 season that was one of just two sub-.500 campaigns in a successful tenure. He guided the program to a 99-77 record and state playoff appearances in all seven seasons.
“I was kindof thinking to myself from the start of the season that this would be my last year at CT,” Gregory told the Sentinel. “I didn’t want any fuss about it, I just wanted to go about the routine of the season, but in the back of my mind I knew that all along.
“I think it’s just time for a change for CT. I don’t know if want to keep coaching or what I want to do, it’s just time for a change and both parties need a new start. I wanted to the right thing for them and for me.”
After a stint as an assistant coach at Thomas Jefferson, Gregory took over at Cherokee Trail in 2011-12 after the departure in Shawn Dirden. He inherited a team that won just four games in 2010-11 and won 13 games in his first season.
In the 2012-13 campaign, he led the Cougars to the Centennial League championship and then on to the Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum, where they lost a heartbreaker in double overtime to Mountain Vista for a Final Four spot.
“To win the league in my second year was crazy,” Gregory said. “I didn’t foresee things coming together that fast. That team won so many close games and so many overtime games and came so close to getting to the Final Four.”
Gregory also helmed the 2015-16 team that won 19 games and got the program back into the Great 8 before a loss to Rangeview.
The last few teams he’s had at Cherokee Trail were quite enjoyable for Gregory, who said he didn’t have to deal with many ego or disciplinary problems.
A lack of height — at least in relation to programs such as Grandview right down the road — and a scarcity of multi-sport athletes have hindered the Cougars as they’ve tried to reach the next echelon of programs on the basketball court, but Gregory is hopefully both of those things can change.
“It’s a tough process in Aurora and in that league, nobody is going to wait for you to get good,” Gregory said. “It really is the very deepest end of the pool so to speak.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
MORGAN GREGORY’S COACHING RECORD AT CHEROKEE TRAIL
2017-18: 11-14 overall (lost to Grandview in 2nd round of Class 5A state playoffs); 2016-17: 13-12 overall (lost to Rampart in 2nd round); 2015-16: 19-7 overall (lost to Rangeview in Great 8); 2014-15: 15-9 overall (lost to Boulder in 2nd round); 2013-14: 10-15 overall (Lost to Rampart in 1st round); 2012-13: 18-8 overall (Lost to Mountain Vista in Great 8); 2011-12: 13-12 (lost to Denver East in 2nd round). Total: 99-77