LEXINGTON, Ky. – After just three full seasons with the Texas Tech volleyball program, associate head coach Morgan Thomas was honored Wednesday, April 10, as a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 Award, given annually to 30 up-and-coming coaches under 30 years old at all levels of the game.
A part of head coach Tony Graystone's inaugural staff in 2016, Thomas served her first two seasons in Lubbock as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator before she was elevated to the role of associate head coach in the summer of 2018. Nothing short of an integral piece of the Red Raiders' continued success, Thomas works primarily with middles and blockers, as well as coordinates the program's recruiting efforts.
"I am very grateful for this recognition," Thomas said. "Tony has allowed me to assist in every single aspect of his programs over the last six years and has been committed to helping me reach my personal goals in the process. I feel very fortunate to work for someone who values loyalty and relationships as much as I do.
"In addition to Tony, I am lucky enough to have some incredible mentors who have never turned me away. To me, this award reflects their commitment to my development as a coach and a person."
In her first season in Lubbock, Thomas directed middle blocker Lauren Douglass to All-Big 12 Second Team and AVCA All-Southwest Region Honorable Mention honors. Under Thomas's tutelage, then-freshman Allison White became the first Red Raider freshman in program history to record a 100-block season, finishing with 121 in 2017. Adding onto Tech's success, her leadership in 2018 guided Tech to its second consecutive winning season, best league mark since the 2004 season, most blocks in a single season (256) since 2011 and she helped four Red Raiders earn All-Big 12 postseason accolades.
Prior to her arrival at Texas Tech, Thomas spent two years as an assistant coach under Graystone at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where she helped the Islanders to their best season in school history in 2015 at 31-5 overall with a spotless 16-0 mark in conference play. The squad captured the Southland Conference regular season and tournament crowns, securing the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. The Islanders finished their 2015 season with four First-Team All-Southland Conference performers and two Southland Conference Players of the Year.
Following her successful collegiate career at the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Thomas landed her first job as the Graduate Assistant for the South Carolina Indoor Volleyball program in July of 2012. Under head coach Scott Swanson, Thomas was responsible for coordinating and directing community service initiatives for student-athletes, while assisting with team travel, summer camps, and managing the program's Under Armour account.
In addition to her role with the Indoor program, Thomas assisted in the development of South Carolina's Beach Volleyball program as the Director of Beach Volleyball Operations. During her time with the Gamecocks, Thomas oversaw the total operations of home events, while working closely with the coaching staff with on-campus recruiting efforts, team travel, and budget management.
"I'm very happy for Morgan and proud for her to be recognized as an AVCA Thirty Under 30 recipient," Graystone said. "This is a great honor, and it's so good to see someone as committed and passionate as Morgan be acknowledged like this. I appreciate her work ethic, investment in our program and her desire to be the best coach possible.
"Morgan is incredibly well-liked and respected by everyone in the volleyball community and it's clear she has a bright future ahead of her. We are fortunate to have Morgan with us at Texas Tech and I know she is proud to be a Red Raider."