GREENVILLE — Karl Morgan wants to get the word out.
“I want to make a difference here at the Valley,” the second-year Mississippi Valley State head football coach said Tuesday at a Kiwanis Club meeting.
Morgan’s stop in town was his latest of the offseason, which has included trips to Clarksdale, Vicksburg and Grenada, to rally supporters around the program.
He spoke for nearly 30 minutes — mostly about his professional football experience in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the NFL in the 1980s. The 50-year-old former UCLA standout, who was cut several times by the Tampa Buccaneers in his three-year stint with the team from 1984-86, recollected on what it felt like to lose a job in the NFL — drawing a load of laughter from the crowd.
“When you get cut, you get a big garbage bag,” he said. “You take everything out your locker and stuff it in there. You look like Santa Claus walking across the parking lot.”
Morgan’s speaking engagement is one of several ways MVSU officials have promoted their program for the upcoming season. Morgan keeps fans involved with his newly created Twitter account along with frequent updates on Facebook.
MVSU also hosted its first-ever 7-on-7 tournament last Saturday, which gave coaches a chance to evaluate possible recruits. All of the changes under Morgan’s watch, hopefully will result in a turnaround for a program that finished 0-10 last season, he said.
“If it crashes and burns,” said Morgan, “it won’t be because of lack of effort.”
Morgan also gave updates on recent projects at Valley, including a new football-only weight room. Previously, the players were only allowed to use the school’s fitness center — which was open to the entire student body — for eight hours per week.
The school, however, raised $60,000 to build a new weight room, which was recently completed.
“We had donations from $5 to $5,000,” said Morgan, who added that the renovations at Rice-Totten Stadium is still on schedule.
Next up for the Delta Devils is a new locker room, said Morgan.
“The building we operate in was built in 1980 (and) it’s very, very dilapidated, but we’re trying to fix it up,” he said.
But “the No. 1 project is players,” Morgan continued.
“We’ve got to get better guys,” he said. “And I think we’ve done that with (junior college players) and plus recruiting in February.”
Recently, MVSU announced three new signees: linebackers Keven Woods (Grossmont Community College) and Jamarius Smith (College of the Sequoias) and Karl David Birkenfield, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback from Yuba Community College.
“As far as how we’ll be this year — we’ll be better,” Morgan predicted. “I’m not big on records and guarantees, (but) we’ll be better.”