New women’s basketball assistant Brittany Morris feels at home at NC State
It was a homecoming for new NC State women’s basketball assistant coach Brittany Morris when she accepted the job in Raleigh this summer.
Morris is a Raleigh native that graduated from Broughton High before eventually earning a master’s degree from NC State after playing college basketball at Seton Hall as an undergraduate.
While pursuing her master’s at NC State, she was a graduate assistant for two seasons from 2015-2017 under head coach Wes Moore.
She went on to spend the next three seasons on the coaching staff at UNC Wilmington and an additional campaign at East Carolina before returning to Moore’s program, where a lot has changed since her graduate assistant days.
The Wolfpack has finished in the top 10 of the final Associated Press (AP) poll in each of the last three seasons and is coming off one of the most successful campaigns in program history. Last season, NC State won the ACC Tournament Championship for the second-straight year, marking a school-first, and also earned the program’s first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Now Morris will be on the staff of a team that returns its top eight scorers from last year and is on a shortlist of schools that are considered national championship contenders in 2021-22.
“Words can't really describe how excited I am,” Morris said. “Every day I wake up like, 'Okay, you're blessed, and it's time to work.' The girls have been great. I love it. The atmosphere is just different. You can tell that these are elite athletes. The environment. the mindset, everything just makes you excited every day to be a part of it and have the opportunity to do some really big things.”
Her quick climb up the women’s college basketball coaching ladder hasn’t been intentional, but it also hasn’t been by coincidence. Morris, an up-and-comer in the coaching industry, has built a reputation as a strong recruiter thus far early in her career.
In her last two seasons at UNCW, she took on the additional responsibility as the program’s recruiting coordinator, where she was able to bring in the top recruiting class in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in each season, including a top-100 class in 2018.
“I was actually very happy at East Carolina,” Morris said. “It was the next step for me. I was not thinking anything about trying to get another opportunity. I had a couple of people reach out from Power Five schools. It's all about blessings, and I had to make the best decisions for myself. Then Coach Moore came out of the blue, and it was a whole new ball game. How could you say no to Coach Moore?
“He's done it the right way, he has a great culture here, great staff, and it's home. It's Raleigh, it's an easy sale for me. I take pride in being from Raleigh. My friends will tell you I brag on it all the time.
“I'm big on trying to build relationships. In my past places, I have had that recruiting title, so I understand the importance of bonding with our players and making sure that they know who I am and I know who they are.
“I played grassroots basketball. The AAU program I grew up playing with has now become even bigger, they're on the Nike circuit now. I've made a lot of relationships built off of that circuit but also growing up and being on a Broughton High School team and being around some of the better high school teams in the area, I've built relationships with those high school coaches.
“All of it came back down to relationships. Some I've had to rekindle, but growing up in the state made it easier because it's home and you're selling North Carolina. Being familiar with the state in general, it makes it an easy sale. It's a beautiful place, it's a great place for families and young adults to kind of grow up.”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Seton Hall in 2013, Morris was quick to jump into the coaching industry.
She got her start as a video coordinator for the 2014-15 season at Virginia Tech, where one of her former coaches at Seton Hall had become an assistant. From there, she learned of an opportunity to become a graduate assistant at NC State, which she quickly took.
After two seasons in Raleigh, she spent four years as a Division I assistant coach before most recently joining the Wolfpack staff.
Her coaching aspirations didn’t come about overnight. From an early age, Morris knew that this was the career path she wanted to pursue.
“When I was about 12-years-old, I realized I ask a lot of questions,” Morris said. “I still do. Once I realized I was a gym rat, I loved being around it and I was always the team leader of whatever team I was on, that's when the light bulb went off. I thought, 'This is something I really want to do.’
“I also had other teammates who played AAU with me, we're all actually coaching in college right now. It was something that I thought about at a very young age. I did test the waters to see if I would want to go play overseas, but I jumped right into it pretty early. I realized that once I made the decision not to go play, coaching was definitely what I wanted to do.”
Just over one month into the job, Morris has hit the ground running. She and the rest of the coaching staff were hardly able to come up for air during a busy month of recruiting in June following the NCAA’s recruiting dead period being lifted June 1.
When she hasn’t been hosting prospects on visits and on the road recruiting, Morris has worked towards building relationships with the current players. It didn’t take long for her to recognize the strong chemistry the team has formed, and Morris says she’s been welcomed in with open arms by the current roster.
“Everyone across the country is probably experiencing the same thing we're experiencing,” Morris said. “Certain classes are making up for missed time, so taking those official visits and unofficial visits have been key. We've been literally busy every day.
“Bonding with the current players has also been essential. The players who were not here, I actually FaceTimed them and introduced myself. They probably were like, 'What in the world,' but I made sure that I put a name and a face very early in front of them before they came back.
“The other players who were here, I introduced myself and made sure I was around. I would go to the weight sessions and stuff just to make them feel comfortable with me a little quicker so that process doesn't take so long.”