A conversation with Morgan Valley

Morgan Valley's resume is impeccable; she led her high school team to back-to-back undefeated seasons at Rice Memorial in Colchester VT, resulting in two consecutive state championships. She holds the records at Rice Memorial for points (1,363), assists (477) and steals (385) and was named a WBCA and Full Court Press All-American in her senior year. As a UConn Husky, she was part of three National Championship teams.

Though hampered in her UConn career by plantar fasciitis, Valley was a strong presence, even from the bench, something that helped convince Geno Auriemma that she would make a good assistant coach for the Huskies, a position she held during the 2004-05 season. This season, she'll take her wealth of experience, coaching aptitude and competitive spirit to Holy Cross in Worcester Mass. to serve as an assistant coach for Bill Gibbons. She joins former Huskies Stacey Hansmeyer (Oklahoma), Shea Ralph (Pittsburgh), Paige Sauer (Fairfield), Tamika Williams (Ohio State), Jamelle Elliott (UConn) and Kris Lamb (Hartford) as Division I assistants.

Valley started at her new position on August 15th after having heard about the open job from friends.

"It was just word of mouth," Valley said. "I heard about it and applied."

Valley, soft-spoken and reserved, didn't mention how influential her friends are. According to a press release from Holy Cross, Valley was "highly recommended by…Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, ESPN's Doris Burke and Connecticut men's assistant (former Holy Cross head coach) George Blaney."

There have been internet rumors that Valley was interested in a similar position with her old high school coach, Keith Cieplicki, at Syracuse University. Valley acknowledged that she had inquired into the position saying, "It was a possibility that I looked into, but it just didn't work out."

Valley wasn't quite sure what her duties would be as a Crusaders' assistant. At UConn, she scouted opponents, prepared tapes of practices and games for the team to review and did a bit of recruiting, too.

"I'll probably do a little of everything. My duties will probably be similar to the ones I had as a student assistant at UConn," Valley explained.

This summer, Valley honed her coaching skills as a counselor at both the men's and women's basketball camps at UConn. She was a commissioner at Geno Auriemma's Camp, a position that required her to organize and direct the activities of the girls who attended.

Valley says that the plantar fasciitis that plagued her throughout much of her career at UConn is "good, all healed" and that she's even playing a bit of basketball. She played some evening games at the Geno Auriemma Camp. Did she play against any former teammates? She laughed.

"Oh no, not against any UConn players. I played with the girls at the camp."

Her busy summer hasn't kept Valley from staying in touch with the other former UConn players who arrived with her in the fall of 2000. When asked if she ever speaks with Ashley Battle, Diana Taurasi, Maria Conlon and Jessica Moore, Valley's voice grew warm.

"We talk all the time," she said. "We keep in touch a lot and see each other whenever they're in the state. We're still really close."

Another former Husky who remained in the state is Morgan's sister, Ashley Valley. Ashley is presently in graduate school at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. She's studying for a master's degree in education. Sister Morgan wasn't sure if Ashley would be participating in any way with the Bobcats basketball team.

Morgan is settling in at Holy Cross and looking forward to the upcoming season. She describes head coach Bill Gibbons as "awesome" and that she enjoys working with him. When asked if this assistant coaching job may some day lead to a head coaching position down the road, Valley was circumspect; "We'll see. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

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