For 15 years, Russell Morgan waited for his chance. He just had to sit and watch while two other coaches took the spot he wanted.
Late last week, though, the Wilkes County Board of Education decided Morgan had paid his dues and named him the Washington-Wilkes head football coach.
"I've been here for 15 years now," said Morgan, who was approved by the board Wednesday and accepted the job Thursday. "This is what I've been dreaming of."
He's not naive enough to think he can bask in the victory. After all, he'll have to replace most of the coaching staff before organizing spring practice.
More importantly, though, he realizes the community expects nothing less than state titles - something former coaches Frank Vohun and Ross New were quick to realize.
Vohun went 38-15 during his three-year tenure and led the Tigers to the state final, but was fired in January 2002.
New went 8-4 last season and got Washington-Wilkes to the postseason's second round before resigning last month.
Morgan should have a slight advantage - already he's well-established in the community.
"The community was looking for a guy they know and trust," said Morgan, who coached running backs under New. "I'm not (legendary Tigers coach) Butch Brooks, but he always said that coaches have to have a disciplined football team. When you show up at a game, you need to know the kids will give their best. If you do that, you'll be successful and the wins will come."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.