With a 915-199 career coaching record, Duncanville ISD Athletic Director and Girls Varsity Head Basketball Coach Cathy Self-Morgan knows how to win. But it’s her skills off the court that have won her a 2012 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award. She is being recognized for motivating students to strive for and achieve success in both academics and extracurricular activities.
Self-Morgan’s career began in South Texas, playing basketball at Jourdanton High School. “I started in fifth grade loving the game,” she said. “I saw my coach get to wear warm-ups to school every day and thought, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to play every day when I go to work.’” Playing at Temple Junior College for one year before transferring to the University of Texas, Self-Morgan was one of the first women to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at UT. She became a high school girls basketball coach right out of college, and is now a 35-year coaching veteran. Self-Morgan has led teams to UIL state playoffs 22 times, and has never ended a season with a losing record. She coached the Austin Westlake Chaparrals to a 4-A State Championship in 1993 and the 5-A State Championships in 1995 and 1996.
Coming to Duncanville High School in 2000, Self-Morgan coached the Pantherettes to a 5-A State Championship in 2003. She just completed yet another winning season, leading the Pantherettes to a 69-31 victory over Spring Dekaney in the 2012 5-A State Championship game on March 3. But more important than the coveted rings on her players’ fingers are the relationships that she has with them. “She’s cool to talk to,” said Pantherette Morgan Bolton. “She teaches us great character, and is a wonderful role model as a woman in a position of leadership.” State Tournament MVP Empress Davenport agrees. “She’s a very good coach. She knows how to push us to the next level, to play our best. She has us strive to make all As, and she prepares us mentally to go on to play basketball in college.”
That positive influence on the futures of Duncanville High School students is why former DHS principal Mike Chrietzberg nominated Self-Morgan for the Sponsor Excellence Award. “She has dedicated her entire professional career to making a positive difference for her student athletes. She is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success in the classroom and on the court. She exemplifies the qualities we desire in all adults who work with our youth.” Self-Morgan says that she is both humbled and honored by the recognition. “I have been blessed and am living my dream! To have Mike Chrietzberg nominate me, he is one of my heroes. I admire and respect that man so much.”
While in Austin vying for the state title the Pantherettes now claim, Self-Morgan was presented with her UIL Sponsor Excellence Award during halftime of a semi-finals game. She received a trophy and check for $1,000. “I went out on the court with about nine other coaches who were being honored and recognized for their milestone wins,” she remembered. “I was the last one to be recognized for my 900 wins, and then they said a lot of nice words and awarded me the Sponsor Excellence trophy. It was especially nice because my team was cheering loud for me and they are very deserving to share this award.” Self-Morgan’s monetary prize was donated to her team, which will play together as an AAU team this summer. For a total trip cost of approximately $15,000, the girls are currently trying to raise the money. If anyone would like to donate, please contact their coach Erion Harris at email@example.com.
Adding to a list of recognitions that include Texas High School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year titles, invitations to coach McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Games, and an induction into the University of Texas Hall of Honor, Self-Morgan’s Sponsor Excellence Award helps Duncanville ISD go two for two. Former DHS yearbook advisor Mary Pulliam was named a UIL Sponsor Excellence Award recipient during the 2010-11 school year. “Duncanville High School has been blessed with outstanding educators,” commented Chrietzberg. “Cathy and Mary represent the hundreds of amazing individuals who make up our district.”