Morgan's 'special' summer ends with Northwoods League title
Hermantown native Eddy Morgan already was having a much better summer this year with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Isaac and Piper, living with him in southeastern Wisconsin rather than 400 miles away in Duluth.
So when the second-year manager of the Mequon, Wis.-based Lakeshore Chinooks led his team to its first Northwoods League championship Friday night, it was icing on the cake.
“It was something special,” Morgan said less than 24 hours after the Chinooks finished off a two-game sweep of the Mankato Moondogs in the NWL Summer Collegiate World Series. “We have a tremendous ownership group. When you have Robin Yount come down onto the field to celebrate with us, that was pretty special.”
Morgan has been with the Lakeshore Chinooks — whose ownership group includes Milwaukee Brewers’ Hall of Famer Yount and Brewers play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker — since the franchise began in 2012, starting as an assistant coach. He took over last year as manager and led the team to the South Division second-half title, a spot in the playoffs and a 44-26 overall record.
The Chinooks won the first- and second-half South Division titles this season while compiling a 50-21 overall record. The 50 wins are the second-most by any NWL team dating to 2009.
Morgan attributed the team’s success to consistent play in the field and pitching. The Chinooks entered the playoffs with a league-low 2.92 ERA and their starting rotation combined for a 2.83 ERA during the regular season. The Lakeshore bullpen was even better, with the team boasting a 35-1 record when leading after five innings prior to the postseason.
“I think we spent more time on the mental side of the game this summer rather than the physical side of it,” Morgan said. “We weren’t hard on them. We didn’t overcoach them. These guys can play.”
Morgan was head coach at Wisconsin-
Superior during his first two seasons with the Chinooks, but left the Yellowjackets in the summer of 2013 to become head coach at Concordia-Wisconsin, which shares Mequon’s Kapco Park with the Chinooks.
Under Morgan, Concordia won 23 games in 2014 — the most by the school since 1991 — and reached the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference tournament final after finishing third during the regular season.
“I think I have the greatest job in the world. I’m a full-time baseball coach at Concordia. I have no other duties,” Morgan said. “It’s worked out pretty good. I don’t know another situation like this in the Northwoods, unless you’re like Daniel (Hersey) up in Duluth where you are working for the organization year-round. I have a great opportunity. I love the (NCAA) Division III mentality of the student-athlete, but I also get a chance in the summer to work with a number of big-time, Division I athletes.
“I really get to work on my craft, working with players from Arkansas, Florida and UCLA, some of the big schools and big baseball programs. I’m getting better every year as a coach getting this experience.”
Morgan said he is proud to represent the entire Twin Ports area as manager of the Chinooks and Concordia, having grown up in Hermantown and coached at both UWS and St. Scholastica.
Morgan said his time as an assistant at St. Scholastica was memorable, however winning a Northwoods League title as a manager is extra special.
“This one was a little more personal because now I’m in charge,” he said. “It’s right up there in my baseball career as a top moment.”