Basketball Endowment for Success and Tradition (BEST) Fund
Tradition is a term Murray State University uses to describe its academics, architecture, athletics and annual events. The Morgan family of Benton, Ky. has been a part of both creating and continuing traditions at MSU since the University’s humble beginnings in 1922.
Tradition is what Bill Morgan, a 1950 MSU graduate and retired command pilot from the U.S. Air Force, and his wife, Irene, are helping continue with the Basketball Endowment for Success and Tradition (BEST) Fund. The fund seeks to raise $1 million to create an endowment for the men’s basketball program, with funds targeted for fifth-year and summer school scholarships; increasing budgets for allowable recruiting expenses; and general enhancement of the basketball budget to allow the Racers to maintain and increase their position as one of the best NCAA Division I programs of all time.
The Morgan’s’ cash pledge of $100,000 will create a $100,000 endowment for men’s basketball at Murray State. Their own personal gift is also intended to challenge others to step forward and support Racer Basketball.
The Morgan’s have been season ticket holders of both Racer basketball and football since the 1960s and they believe much of the spirit at MSU comes from its successful athletic programs.
While in college and since living in Benton, Bill Morgan has been an active Thoroughbred and he and his wife are avid sports fan; “seldom missing a Murray State sporting event.”
Bill Morgan said Murray State University has been a big part of his life since he can remember. Bill Morgan’s grandfather, William Edmond Morgan, was a part of the first graduating class of Murray State Normal School in 1926. Bill’s father, brother and granddaughter are also MSU Alumni and had the opportunity to experience Racer tradition for five generations.
“When I was four or five years old I would play outside of Wilson Hall while my dad attended class,” Morgan said. “I went to athletic events here while I was in grade school and high school and I was excited to finally be able to be a part of it all when I became an official Murray State student.”
Morgan said he still remembers hanging out with friends at the Hut and sports, as always, were very important to him and the University.
“The University is known by the success of its sports team,” Morgan said. “My wife and I are very interested in taking the basketball team to the next level and with this past season, we know we are heading in the right direction.”
Racer basketball is a tradition the entire nation was able to witness at the 2010 NCAA championship win against Vanderbilt University. The Morgan’s hope their contribution to the program will help Coach Kennedy and the Racers have a number of successful seasons.
“It is very important for us to help all of the good things that are happening at the University be continued,” Irene Morgan said. “The BEST Fund is one of the ways my husband and I are trying to help accomplish that mission.”
The Morgan’s said they enjoy giving back to Murray State because they feel the University has provided their family with so many opportunities in return.
“It is only natural to give to something that has given you so much,” Bill Morgan said. “My view of success is that every opportunity I have been given, I should give that same opportunity for success to someone else. Murray State University has allowed me to accomplish so many things throughout my life and I am grateful for the things it has allowed me to do.”