I’ll watch with great interest because it’s very important to me that they get the right fit, and I think the right fit is about 40 paces away. —Stew Morrill, last week on the search for his replacement
LOGAN — It would seem that Stew Morrill got his wish.
The Deseret News has confirmed an ESPN.com report written by Jeff Goodman early Sunday evening that Utah State associate coach Tim Duryea has been tabbed to succeed his longtime boss.
Hired by Morrill in July 2001, Duryea did not return a phone call Sunday night, but USU athletic director Scott Barnes, who has been busy the past weeks serving as the chair of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, apparently decided to stay in-house to replace the winningest basketball coach in Utah State history.
Although USU officials would not confirm that Duryea has been hired, they did announce on Sunday evening that there will be a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday on Kirby Court inside the Wayne Estes Center. The event is open to the public or can be viewed live online at utahstateaggies.com.
Duryea spent 14 years under Morrill, who retired two weeks ago after 17 seasons as the head coach of the Aggies. Originally the third assistant on Morrill's staff, Duryea moved up the bench when other longtime assistants Randy Rahe and Don Verlin eventually left, and the University of North Texas graduate was named Morrill's associate coach prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.
At the press conference in early January when he announced his retirement, Morrill declared, "Tim Duryea is the longest-tenured assistant basketball coach in Utah State history at 14 years, and I would love to see him have an opportunity here. That would be awesome."
During an interview late last week, Morrill reiterated that desire and said he had done quite a bit of lobbying on Duryea's behalf with Barnes.
“I’ll watch with great interest because it’s very important to me that they get the right fit, and I think the right fit is about 40 paces away,” Morrill said while gesturing towards Duryea’s office down the hall.
Duryea was in his second year as the head coach at Hutchison (Kansas) Community College when he received a call from Rahe, a longtime acquaintance, following Morrill's third season at Utah State. Duryea and Rahe knew each other from the late ’80s when Duryea was a graduate assistant at Colorado State, and Rahe, now the head coach at Weber State, was a high school coach in Colorado.
Although he was 40-25 during his two years at "Hutch" and made back-to-back trips to the Region Six Championships, Duryea decided to join Morrill's staff. When Rahe left USU to become an assistant at Utah under Ray Giacoletti in 2004, Duryea's primary area of concern became the Aggie defense. And when Verlin left to become the head coach at Idaho in 2008, Duryea took over the Utah State offense, as well as coaching the Aggies' post players.
Duryea is married to the former Angie Knox, a standout volleyball player at Colorado State in the ’80s and who was inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. The couple has three children: Tanner, Taylor and Kaylee. Tanner is a freshman on the lacrosse team at Westminster, while his twin sister, Taylor, is a 6-foot outside hitter who redshirted last season for the Dixie State volleyball team.
The son of a high school athletic director, Duryea was born in Kansas and played high school basketball in Denton, Texas. He played at Texas Pan-American before transferring to North Texas, where he was the co-captain of the 1988 team that lost to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
After graduating from UNT with a degree in business administration, Duryea's first coaching job was at Colorado State under Boyd Grant. He returned to North Texas as a member of Tim Jankovich's staff in 1993, and later spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Hutchison CC before becoming the head coach in 1999.