Skip to main content

Article originally published on JCUsports.com

The 2022 ESPYS have a local feel to them. As part of this year's ESPYS, ESPN Cleveland presented Honorary ESPYS to outstanding honorees in the community. And one of John Carroll University's own is a winner.

JCU's Senior Director of Athletics Michelle Morgan has been presented with the ESPY for Female Administrator of the Year via ESPN Cleveland. 

"This is an individual honor and recognition, and I am humbled, but it's the byproduct of the team I'm grateful to be a part of. We have a wonderful team in place and we've been blessed to have great success as a department," said Morgan. "I want to thank Katie Hine and Joe Ginley for nominating me for this award. It's a tremendous honor to win an Honorary ESPY. Some of the greatest, most influential figures in sports history have been awarded with ESPYs, so it's extremely humbling and shocking to receive this recognition. It's an honor to be seen for my work in the JCU and Division III communities." 

The 2022 ESPYS, presented by Capital One, celebrated the best players, teams, and moments in the world of sports. The award winners were honored Wednesday, July 20, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Morgan's award was presented to her in advance as a surprise on Friday, July 15 in JCU's Herb Eisele Blue Gold Room by ESPN Cleveland's Bridget Linton, who was also on the red carpet in LA on Wednesday. Morgan is one of just 15 Honorary ESPY winners from five cities across the country (Cleveland, Chicago, LA, Madison, and New York). 

morgan 2

Since arriving at JCU in 2018, Michelle Morgan has been a standout leader for John Carroll Athletics. The Blue Streaks have won 36 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships with Morgan at the helm, making a total of 34 NCAA postseason appearances. Meanwhile, Morgan has become a key leader on the national scene. 

Morgan is currently serving as the Chair of NCAA Division III Management Council as an influential national leader in Division III athletics. Morgan prominently serves as an ex officio member on the NCAA Board of Governors. 


In 2021-22, Morgan guided the Blue Streaks to a record 7th straight Ohio Athletic Conference Men's All-Sports Trophy. And JCU's women's athletics teams also enjoyed plenty of success. Women's Basketball won an OAC Championship and clinched an NCAA Tournament bid; Women's Swimming & Diving won a 6th straight OAC Championship; and Women's Cross Country tallied its second straight OAC crown. 

Over the past four months, Morgan has been working with Mark Hawald to prepare for the launch of Women's Wrestling at John Carroll. The addition of JCU's 24th varsity sport was announced on Friday, with competition set to begin in 2023-24.

On campus, Morgan serves on the Senior Leadership Team and advocates for positive change for the entire campus community. Her efforts have been critical with several projects, including JCU Athletics' new brand and identity and the creation of the Champions Endowment during the celebration of 100 years of Athletics at JCU. 

In terms of facilities, Morgan was key in leading the way for the construction of the brand-new Short Family Tennis Courts. Additionally, there have been multiple facility upgrades, including installation of new turf and upgraded sound system at Don Shula Stadium, installation of new bleachers, flooring, and seating in the Johnson Natatorium, renovation of locker room space for the volleyball and softball programs, creation of a new fitness studio, a $90,000 upgrade to the Shula Stadium weight room, expansion and new equipment for the Corbo Fitness Center, and revamping of the Blue Gold Room. Other athletic facility upgrades are currently in the works. 

Under Morgan's leadership, JCU Athletics has paired with a number of local organizations, such as Beat The Streets Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Football Coaches Association, Saint Ignatius High School's REACHing MAGIS program, and others. She fundraised for a new position in the athletic department, the Assistant Athletic Director for Student Success and Leadership, and hired Mike Hollins '17 for the role. This position will support JCU's on-going efforts toward inclusive excellence and ensure that every student-athlete has the resources and support system to thrive.

Her volunteer work with the NCAA, Women Leaders in College Sports, and the Cleveland chapter of WISE (Women In Sports and Entertainment) highlights her focus on empowering and supporting women. Morgan is a frequent speaker and presenter for women's leadership panels.

This fall, Morgan will be a key component for the inaugural year of the Masters of Sports Leadership at JCU. Morgan is actively creating curriculum and preparing to be an instructor when the Master's program hosts its first class of students in the fall. 

Without a doubt, Morgan is an exceptional example of a female leader whose impact has been felt not only at John Carroll, but in the wider Division III community. 

"I would not be in the seat I hold without the mentorship and guidance of a long list of people who have believed in me and given me opportunities," said Morgan. "It starts with my parents. I am fortunate to have a pretty powerful female figure in my life in my mom, but my love of sports came from my dad. And if it weren't for being the first female to be the recipient of the Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship when I was 18, I wouldn't have understood that a career in sports would have been possible.

 

Opportunities for women in the sports world have grown exponentially since I was a little girl. The sky is the limit now. It's my job as a woman in this industry to acknowledge the women who came before me and opened doors. It's also my responsibility to keep the doors open to ensure that women after me have even more opportunities than I do. I hope my footsteps can be a guide for today's young women who will continue to shatter glass ceilings in the future.