Area high school, college basketball great Morgan dies at 85

Jim Morgan (left) with longtime jockey Perry Ouzts. CONTRIBUTED

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Jim Morgan (left) with longtime jockey Perry Ouzts. CONTRIBUTED

Jim Morgan – a beloved sports figure in the Dayton area for seven decades – died early Sunday morning of a suspected heart attack said his brother, Sam Morgan.

Jim was 85.

A 6-foot-1 all-city guard at Stivers High School in the early 1950s, he chose the University of Louisville over the University of Dayton — his family came to East Dayton from Leslie County, Kentucky — and ended up in the school’s athletics hall of fame. He was the team captain as a senior and finished his career with 1,105 points. His No. 12 jersey was retired by Louisville.

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In 1956 he was an integral part of the Cards team that beat the Dayton Flyers in the NIT championship game.

He was drafted by the NBA’s Syracuse Nationals and made the team, but when he was offered what he considered an inadequate contract, he decided to return to Dayton and took a job teaching history and coaching basketball at Stebbins .

In eight seasons, his Indians teams went 109-57.

In the mid-1960s he changed sporting careers again and became one of the Midwest’s preeminent thoroughbred trainers. He remains Ohio’s winningest stakes trainer and had six horse of the year champions in the state.

In recent years he’s been one of the guiding figures of the Stivers High School Athletics Hall of Fame, into which he was enshrined in 2006.

In 2013 he was inducted in the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

The viewing is from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the Tobias Funeral Home, 5471 Far Hills Ave. On Monday, there’s a viewing from 11 a.m. to noon, followed the funeral, at Tobias Funeral Home.

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