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“He said I was a great guy with a lot of passion, but I had no chance of getting into coaching,” Bill Morosco (Florida) recalls of a meeting with a college basketball coach. “I was too late to the game and profession to get in.”

He doesn’t share the name of the doubter in question because he considers it unethical and even possibly dishonorable. His reluctance brings to light two fundamental character traits about himself. The first is that for Morosco, walking in the way of honor is not just something he recalls from his collegiate days but a life mantra. Second, his unabashed enthusiasm for his dream and an unbridled drive to chase it down.

As one of the nation’s three youngest assistant coaches in college basketball at Barry University, he’s risen quickly up the ladder in defiance of his detractors, which included himself at times.

Even if the not-so-welcome prediction was destined to be as accurate as predicting the next viral internet meme, it wasn’t based on false logic.

Morosco didn’t play basketball at the collegiate level despite having played varsity basketball in high school at Florida’s 8-A level. While he carried a love for the game into college, he wanted to pursue other opportunities.

When he joined the Epsilon Zeta Chapter at the University of Florida it was one of the smallest chapters on campus at the time. “The chapter was just a great group of guys and I joined for the brotherhood and friendship,” he says.

From there he threw himself into the chapter leadership with the same zeal that fuel his career in the future. He became the chapter’s Recruitment Chairman and assisted in growing the membership to 100 members, a milestone for the chapter.

“I then became Commander,” he recalls. “And once the manpower question was fixed, things seemed to start naturally clicking with Pursuit of Excellence.”

With his undergraduate career coming to a close, he thought about his next steps and what his first job out of college would like. He settled on two selfless options: Sigma Nu Headquarters staff or Teach for America.

“I made this very in-depth pro/con list and some items were weighted more than others. The idea to give back to Sigma Nu and travel the country were really appealing but so was giving back to a community as an educator and role model. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make.”

The tipping point in this internal debate came during Morosco’s on-site interview in Lexington, Va. for the Fraternity’s staff team.

“You just got this immense feeling that [Sigma Nu] was bigger than the four walls of the Epsilon Zeta chapter house in Gainesville,” he says. “I was impressed with the quality of the individuals who worked there and how everyone bought into the same mission.”

Ultimately, it came down to a simple conclusion. You are the company you keep, so seek out the best.

Morosco joined the staff team in the summer of 2012 and became the Leader- ship Consultant for the West Region, visiting chapters from Utah to California.

The first “real job” out of college brought some valuable lessons with it.

“As a Leadership Consultant, your boss isn’t with you every day and you need to set and meet your own goals. It requires a special attention to organization and significant self-initiative. You set your own schedule which means you have to be disciplined enough to get the job done but not so narrow focused that you miss where you are.”

The unique nature of the job meant not requiring a lot of hand-holding and required the ability to not only identify problems, but to figure out solutions to them. It would prove to be a skill that Morosco uses daily as an assistant coach.

But in the fall of 2012 that path wasn’t clear yet. It didn’t become clear until a long drive back to Headquarters in Virginia from Flagstaff, Ariz. “I was driving through Oklahoma in the early morning and I remember thinking, ‘I want to do this, and I could do this,’” he recalls. “I got this surge of confidence that pushed aside the reasons I kept telling myself that I couldn’t do it.”

It was during that long drive that he made up his mind to devote himself to the game. That meant converting his natural love of it into tangible knowledge and skills. He set himself to becoming a student of the game, seeking out any knowledge he could get. During the following spring semester of chapter consultations, he reached out to the basketball programs of every school he visited, asking if he could meet coaches, watch practices, and take notes. He spent his vacation time attending basketball camps, hungry for any ounce of wisdom or experience he could pick up.

“I look back at those notes from that time at least once a semester to find answers or insight for different things. The uncommon benefit was that over several months I was exposed to many different programs. It also greatly multiplied my network, meeting so many different staffs.”

When he finished his spring 2013 travel, he returned to Lexington, still eager for experience. It was during this time that he heard the ominous prediction from a coach and the lack of faith in his ability to really make it in the profession. The comment was a stinging rebuke to a dream that had been building like a fire with every practice watched or coach met adding another log to the fire. But it wasn’t enough to extinguish it.

The next day he had a scheduled meeting with then Virginia Military Institute men’s basketball head coach Duggar Baucom.

“I was close to hanging it up and walking away. But then Coach Baucom told me his story and that was another turning point for me.”

Coach Baucom’s story had eerily similarities to Morosco’s. Baucom played basketball in high school but after graduation went on to become a North Carolina State Trooper, including time as a school resource officer where he became the varsity head coach. But a heart attack on Christmas Day in 1990 ended his tenure as a law enforcement officer. He was told to pursue a “low-stress occupation.” So, he went back to school and earned a B.A. in history. Following that, he became an assistant at Davidson College and began working his way up the college basketball coaching ranks until he landed at VMI.

The two stories were certainly different, but their foundations were not that far apart. Neither Baucom or Morosco were entering the coaching profession from a traditional background. Both had never played basketball at the collegiate level and both had spent time at jobs that seemed far apart from collegiate basketball coaching. Regardless, there they were.

Coach Baucom was welcoming and endearing. Likely, he saw some of him- self in Morosco. A similar passion for the game and a desire to mentor, coach, and lead men.

“He helped me the most. My friends and co-workers were always very supportive of me, but here was this man who had done it. Here was tangible proof that I wasn’t crazy, and then the impossible suddenly became very possible.”

Morosco spent the summer shadowing the VMI program. In fall of 2013 he went off to Laramie, Wyo. to serve as the project manager for the recolonization efforts at the University of Wyoming. Knowing he’d be in one place for longer than three days meant the ability to dive deeper into a program, if he could get his foot in the door. His Sigma Nu network would do just that.

“The Epsilon Delta (Wyoming) alumni got me connected quickly and Coach [Larry] Shyatt took me under his wing. I am eternally grateful for him. He gave me an all-access pass to come to practice every day to learn and watch. I was there for about three months during the fall, so I was able to see a side to coaching that I didn’t get in the spring or summer.”

When his two-year term with the Headquarters staff expire, Coach Shyatt was instrumental in getting him connected to his graduate assistant position at UC Davis. “That’s when the rubber hit the road for sure,” he says with a laugh.

 “I went from a steady-paying job to an unpaid graduate assistant position, but it was perfect. I was actually doing it. I wasn’t just taking notes and tagging along for practices, I was in the thick of it.”

That 2014-2015 season saw the UC Davis Aggies go on a barn-storming 25-7 run, ending with a trip to the NIT and a loss in the first round to Stanford.

“It was a phenomenal experience. Coach [Jim] Les is still one of my closest mentors. I’ll always have a spot in my heart for that season.”

The next season, Morosco got a call from an old friend: Coach Baucom. He had recently been hired as The Citadel’s head coach and wanted to know if Morosco wanted to switch coasts. So, he packed up his things and moved to Charleston to assume the role of Director of Basketball Operations, one position below assistant coach. He helped with scouting, travel logistics, breaking down film.

It was at this time that the dam broke for Morosco. He went from The Citadel to Presbyterian College as one of the three youngest assistant coaches in the country. When the head coach retired, he moved again but this time it was closer to home at Eastern Florida State College, one of the top junior colleges in the country for basketball.

They went 30-5 in his first season there, going to the national tournament and winning the 3rd place game to finish 3rd in the country. With each new home, it also meant a new set of responsibilities. At Eastern Florida he was the program’s top assistant coach, taking control of the defense and in charge of scouting and recruiting.

“I was there for a year, so not very long, but I got to coach players who went on to play for major programs. The national tournament is set up where you play a game every day and I must’ve slept a total of seven hours over seven days. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.”

From Eastern Florida, Morosco landed right back where he first picked up a love for basketball, Miami, Fla. He took a position as the top assistant coach at Barry University, one of the top Division II programs I the country, in Miami Shores, just north of Miami. It means being closer to home for both he and his wife, which Morosco shares is a welcome change from having moved to a different city every year since they’ve been married. And that’s important to Morosco because it’s his family and friends who keep him balanced.

“My wife is so supportive and under- standing. My wins and losses are literal and public, and she’s always been there for me when I need her,” he says about the importance of her support. His friends, chapter brothers and former coworkers from his days on the Headquarters staff, have also been assets. “Every Saturday in college football season I love my phone blowing up with text messages from a group text with friends from Headquarters. It’s a welcome break. And a lot of those decision points I made in my early career had those same guys supporting and encouraging me.”

In the realm of Sigma Nu, he credits his Fraternity as not only a foundation for his success today but as a critical experience for men today.

“My coaching career really started at Epsilon Zeta Chapter in Gainesville. I learned how to become a leader and a motivator. I learned how to make decisions at tough times that not everyone may always be happy about and how to communicate those decisions during moments of high pressure. I learned how to recruit as Recruitment Chairman and it’s not much different from what I do today, a lot of those skills are the same. I think the Sigma Nu experience today is important and relevant. Even in my career, seeing things like the Adidas trial, it’s a reminder of the importance of walking in the way of honor.”

As our conversation closes, his voice begins to fade; the natural side-effect of early morning practices and drills. But he’s excited. He’s back home, surrounded by his family, cheered on abroad by his friends, and mentored by all those who’ve stepped into his life and saw potential.

The moment is not lost on him. “Now people are looking to me for game-time decisions and answers with three seconds left and I’m like, whoa. I was a Recruitment Chairman at Sigma Nu.”

Which serves as proof, and a helpful dose of humble pie for the coach-who- will-not-be-named, that when it comes to your dreams, it’s never too late.

 

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9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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