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FOREVER HOME: USU Names Court After Longtime Coach Stew Morrill

Longtime coach Stew Morrill stands next to tables with many of the awards his teams won during his 17-year coaching tenure.
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By Jeff Hunter ’96

Standing on an Aggie blue carpet, surrounded by dozens of championship trophies, awards, and basketball nets his teams cut down during his 17 years as the head coach at Utah State, Stew Morrill’s eyes suddenly locked in on a particular part of the floor of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum about 15 feet away.

“I spent a lot of time over in that spot,” Morrill said, gesturing towards the coach’s box area of the Spectrum sideline.

“A lot of time” would be an understatement. 

While it’s impossible to calculate exactly how much time the winningest coach in USU history spent on or near the Aggies’ bench, considering that he coached 280 games at the Spectrum during his tenure, that adds up to well over 11,000 minutes. Throw in countless hours of practice time, and it’s hard to argue anyone has spent more time than him on the floor of the Spectrum. 

And now his name is literally on it. 

During the weekend of Feb. 9–10, the USU Athletic Department hosted Morrill, his wife, Vicki, and the couple’s four children — along with their families — as the university officially designated the basketball floor at the Spectrum as Stew Morrill Court.

Utah State’s winningest men’s basketball coach, Morrill made the honor all but inevitable after guiding the Aggies to 402 total victories between being hired on Aug. 7, 1998, and his retirement at the end of the 2014–15 season. But it still took a substantial fundraising effort by deputy athletic director Jerry Bovee to make it a reality. Backed by longtime USU boosters Jim and Carol Laub — along with other donors — Bovee kicked off the effort last spring while serving as interim athletic director. The campaign brought in well over $2 million to help fund the project and aid the Aggie basketball program.

“It’s really an honor to be involved with this, and really I’d like to thank Jerry Bovee because it was his vision, and he really completed the task,” USU athletic director Diana Sabau said. 

Morrill’s big weekend began with a private unveiling for him and his family at the Spectrum on Feb. 9. After coming down the Aggies’ tunnel, he was greeted by four tables’ worth of hardware from his coaching tenure at USU. The 71-year-old Provo native then stood off to the side as two of his grandchildren pulled back a cloth covering his signature in blue, which now sits at midcourt just below the U-State logo. 

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before,” Morrill said with a grin. “When I’m long gone and my grandkids turn on the TV and Utah State’s playing, unless they sand that thing off, they’ll be able to see their grandpa and it’s his name on the court, and that’s pretty dang special.”

On Feb. 10, Morrill reconnected with many of his former players during lunch at the West Stadium Center. He was then honored in front of a sellout crowd at the Spectrum that night during halftime of the Aggies’ game against Boise State, a contest which, thanks to Tim Duryea and Larry Eustachy’s inclusion on the BSU coaching staff, also led to a brief gathering of seven total Aggie coaches:  Danny Sprinkle (2023–24), Duryea (2016–18), Eustachy (1994–98), Kohn Smith (1989–93), Rod Tueller (1980–88), Dutch Belnap (1974–79), and, of course, Morrill. 

Flanked by his family while more than 60 former Aggies lined up along the sideline, the winningest coach in USU history took the microphone and thanked the older USU fans “for remembering me” and the student section “for pretending to remember me.” 

The driving force behind seven conference titles, six postseason championships and USU’s 2001 NCAA Tournament victory then thanked his family, former players and assistant coaches, and the current USU administration before sharing the details of a recent “dream” with the crowd.

“I was walking on campus, and this guy says, ‘Is that the old Aggie coach?’” he recalled. “And the other guy says, ‘No, he’s dead.’”

As the crowd erupted in laughter, Morrill proclaimed: “Well, I am still alive. And I am still an Aggie.”

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