Troy Morrell Born: March 23, 1971 (Benkelman, NE)
Graduated: Buhler High School, 1990; Fort Hays State University, 1996
There is really only one word that can describe the Butler County Community College Grizzly football program under the guidance of head coach Troy Morrell from 2000 to 2014: dominate. No other junior college in the nation experienced anything quite like what happened in El Dorado, Kansas, for fifteen years under Morrell’s watch and today, that utter dominance leads Coach Troy Morrell into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Morrell’s team won the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) an astounding 80% of the time during his tenure. His teams made the national championship game for the National Junior College Athletic Association nearly every two years under Morrell’s watch. From 2000 to 2014, no junior college in the nation won more games than the Butler County Grizzlies, which is a testament to the leadership of Coach Troy Morrell.
Before Morrell’s career as a coach reached unprecedented heights, he was an outstanding player. An all-state lineman selection as a junior and senior at Buhler High School, Morrell committed to play collegiately at the school his name would become synonymous with, Butler Community College, after his high school graduation in 1990. After spending two seasons with the Grizzlies, and earning Academic All-American status in 1991, Morrell pledged to play for the Fort Hays State University Tigers before returning to Butler Community College in the fall of 1996 as the assistant offensive line coach.
After beginning his coaching career, Morrell’s rise was meteoric. It only took two years serving as an assistant before Morrell was tabbed to be the offensive coordinator at Butler Community College in 1998. In just his second year in that position, Morrell directed an offense that was the envy of the nation behind tailback Rudi Johnson, who led the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns scored that year and was named the Junior College National Player of the Year. In Morrell’s two seasons as offensive coordinator, Butler also won back-to-back National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championships, the school’s first since 1981.
Butler would win three more National Championships before Morrell’s affiliation with the school was complete.
Morrell was appointed the head coach of the Butler Community College football team in 2000, just four years after joining the coaching ranks and two years after being named the offensive coordinator. In his first season at the helm, Morrell guided the Grizzlies to a 10-2 record and a final national ranking of number six in the country.
The 2001 season was a milestone for Morrell as the Grizzlies captured their first KJCCC title. His teams would win the next eight conference titles in a row on their way to compiling a combined record of 86-9 during that eight season span. Also in the span came Butler’s three NJCAA National Championships under Morrell in 2003, and back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
In total, Morrell’s career head coaching record stands at an astonishing 154-22 with three NJCAA National Championships, twelve KJCCC Championships, ten Region VI Championships, and thirteen bowl games. His career coaching win percentage of .875 ranks highest in the history of NJCAA football, edging out former Coffeyville Community College coach and 2004 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Dick Foster.
Under Morrell’s leadership, Grizzly players had unprecedented success. Three players were named National Defensive Player of Year, 70 players were selected as NJCAA All-America selections, and thirteen players honored as Academic All-Americans. Under Morrell, the Grizzlies were always in contention for the national championship as they played in seven National Championship games during his fifteen year head coaching career.
For his team’s accomplishments, Morrell was recognized several times throughout his coaching career, including being named a five-time KJCCC Coach of the Year and two-time NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2007.
Today, his team’s football dominance of the state of Kansas and national junior college football earn Troy Morrell another recognition, as an inductee of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.