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Dinsdale MorganDinsdale Morgan
It’s been 17 years now since Dinsdale Morgan ran track at Kansas City Kansas Community College but it’s still very much a part of his life.
Now a coach at Blue Valley Southwest, Morgan still gets back on occasion to renew friendships with athletic trainer Rodney Christensen and others and will return Saturday, Feb. 23, for his induction into the KCKCC Sports Hall of Fame.
“Kansas City Kansas Community College gave me my first opportunity to attend college in the U.S. It’s a big part of my life,” says Morgan, who was born and raised in Jamaica.
A two-time winner in the 400-meter hurdles at the KU Relays during his two seasons at KCKCC, Morgan also earned All-American honors by finishing second in back-to-back seasons in the 600-meter indoor nationals. The Athlete of the Year in his final season in 1994, he also earned an academic scholastic award with a 3.50 grade point average.
Morgan learned of his Hall of Fame selection from a co-worker at BV Southwest. “He said congratulations and I said for what and he said, have you not seen the paper? So he got a copy of the newspaper to show me. I was pretty surprised,” said Morgan, who was induced into the Pittsburg State Hall of Fame in 2006.
Recruited by Tom Lester, Morgan ran for new coach Todd Biggs his second season and it was that early training that laid the foundation of a career that was ready to soar. “I’ve always appreciated the coaches that helped me get started,” said Morgan.
Upon recommendation of Biggs, a former Pitt State athlete, Morgan joined the Gorillas where he won the NCAA Division II 400-meter hurdles and seven MIAA championships, earned multiple All-American honors and was named Pitt State’s Athlete of the Year in 1996.
And the best was yet to come – winning the Jamaica national championship in the 400 hurdles and earning a berth on the Jamaica Olympic team. Competing in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Morgan made it through the first round but did not make the semifinals. “It was my first international meet and I did not do well,” he says.
Over the next four years, Morgan would excel. Some of those accomplishments:
• Central American and Caribbean champion and record holder in both 1997 and 1978.
• Silver medalist on 4x400 relay team and seventh in the hurdles in the 1997 World Championships in Paris and ranked No. 7 in the world..
• Commonwealth Games champion and record holder in Malaysia, 1998.
• Ranked No. 4 in world in 400 hurdles in 1998.
• Silver medalist in the 1998 IAAF World Athletics finals; ran 48.13 in Rome.
• Jamaica’s Track and field Athlete and Sportsman of Year in 1999 and seventh in the IAAF world championships.
Morgan returned to the Olympics in 2000 and this time he reached the semifinals of the 400 hurdles in the Games held in Sydney, Australia. For all intent and purpose, it was the final chapter in an outstanding competitive career.
In addition to his success on the track, Morgan saw the world. “You can just about name any country and I’ve been there – all, over Europe, Japan, Brazil, Malaysia – and it’s taught me a lot of things. You meet a lot of different people, see a lot of cultures and learn everything is not the same. But it also shows how important home and family is,” says Morgan, who is married with three children.
Morgan returned to KCKCC as a volunteer sprint, hurdle and relay coach for two seasons under Al Hobson in 1999-2000. “I also taught Strength and Conditioning Training,” said Morgan, who has never left the area. Prior to joining the coaching staff at BV Southwest three years ago, he’s been a volunteer coach at UMKC, coached club track teams and worked for various track management and marketing companies promoting, implementing and organizing camps and training for athletes.
At BV Southwest, Morgan has coached 26 athletes to state meets including a couple of top three finishers. In addition, he also works with special education youth. “It’s a thrill to see kids do well,” he says. “If you coach, you are a teacher just like in the classroom and when there’s a test, you have to study. It’s the same with track and field. If when you get on the field or court and feel comfortable in knowing what you want to do, you can do it.”
Morgan will be joined by basketball All-American Stephanie Brown, current baseball coach Steve Burleson and the 1976 World Series baseball team in induction ceremonies to be held at halftime of the KCKCC-Labette basketball doubleheader which starts at 6 p.m.