Coach Michelle Morgan smiling with Morgan Way sign

On May 6, generations of Amherst athletes gathered to honor Coach Michelle Morgan and to recognize the storied and successful history of women’s athletics at the College. The evening’s events included a dedication of the newly named “Morgan Way,” a celebration called Breaking Barriers, Breaking Records, and a reception in Middleton Gym.

“Michelle coached at Amherst for 44 years,” said Jen Hughes, Amherst’s head women’s soccer coach. “She was a quintessential Amherst educator, rightly holding the title of professor. Coaching is educating, supporting, teaching and mentoring with the field, the rink, the pool, the court or the track as the primary classroom. As an educator, Michelle played an important role in the development of Amherst students and had a profound impact on many of them.”

Light post with Morgan Way street sign
In 2022, when Coach Morgan announced her plan to retire, a group of alumnae athletes who felt that impact were determined to recognize her in a way befitting her legacy as an icon within Amherst athletics—a pioneer whose efforts increased opportunity and equity for women athletes in the United States. They established the Michelle Morgan Women's Athletics Endowment Fund, the first endowed fund at Amherst to be named for a female coach at the College. Created by former Amherst athletes to support current Amherst athletes, it will provide funding for women's athletics at the College in perpetuity.

In addition, the College named the walkway leading from Alumni Gym up Memorial Hill to the main quad “Morgan Way.” President Michael A. Elliott '92, noting that he is fond of talking about the halls and hills we walk on at Amherst, said, “I think it’s wonderful that one of those hills and the way we walk up it will be forever associated with Michelle Morgan and the generations of female athletes she coached.” This path, traveled frequently by all members of the Amherst community, symbolically connects the athletic complex to the academic core of the campus, just as Coach Morgan did throughout her career.

Coach Michelle Morgan smiling while being celebrated
“Being hired by Amherst College in 1976 to help develop the women’s physical education and athletics program was a dream,” said Coach Morgan to a room packed with alumnae athletes from the College’s first women’s teams—including basketball, crew, cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, skiing, soccer, squash and swimming—and those alumnae-athletes who followed, as well as colleagues, family and friends. “I’m really honored that my legacy will continue on through the Michelle Morgan Women’s Athletics Endowment Fund. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making this all possible.”

Photos courtesy of Slate Taylor ’25.

Breaking Barriers, Breaking Records

May 6, 2023

Watch the full remarks from Breaking Barriers, Breaking Records: A Celebration of Women’s Athletics at Amherst College.