Interview with first-time assistant coach Morgan Paige
Previous School: Iowa State
Morgan Paige is one of the youngest coaches in the NDSU Athletic Department. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin two years ago after a successful basketball career for the Badgers. Paige currently ranks 18th in all-time scoring at Wisconsin with 1,230 points. She was also named third-team All- Big Ten in 2013.
Paige is from Marion, Iowa, where she lit up the high school women’s basketball scene. Paige was coached by her mom Sherryl, who retired after her high school career was over to follow her brother. Paige’s brother, Marcus Paige, played for four years at the University of North Carolina and is currently on the Utah Jazz roster after being drafted in the second round by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2016 NBA Draft.
North Dakota State is Paige’s first coaching job. She was in her master’s program at Iowa State before coming to Fargo, and she plans to get back in school later this spring.
Bison Illustrated: You were playing in the Big Ten while Maren Walseth was coaching at Penn State. Is that how she found out about you looking for a coaching job?
Morgan Paige: She did coach against me when I played when we were both Big Ten products. She called and through the grapevine knew I was interested in coaching. I was a GA (grad assistant) at the time and she felt that would be a good fit for this program and that’s kind of really what happened. Knowing what I could bring from the floor from a lead guard perspective and correlating that to the coaching side.
BI: You didn’t finish grad school at Iowa State, is that something you’ll continue to work on while you’re at NDSU?
MP: Yeah, most of my credits will transfer so I’m not having to start over, per se. I just don’t know when. I’ve talked with academic advisors, I just don’t know when I’d start classes. We’re trying to figure that out now. It won’t be anything huge because now I have way more responsibility to the program and the girls and the recruiting and every other piece that it will be one class a semester. I’m not worried about it right now.
BI: So this is like a super internship in some ways for you?
MP: Yeah, it’s been awesome. Now, my mom, being an English teacher, she’s like, “Are you going to go back?” And I’m like, “Yes, I’ll finish eventually, but right now I really like what I’m doing.”
BI: Speaking of your mom, she coached you in high school. Is that where your interest in coaching began?
MP: I have not been in it very long, but I’ve been around coaching for so long that when I got to the college level and I was playing basketball, and I was talking to my position coaches and the conversations that we would have were so different than some of the conversations that other teammates would have. They would show that to me, like, “Have you even thought about coaching? You have a different perspective because you’ve had coaching parents.” It took me awhile to agree with them. I told them I never wanted to be a coach, my mom was a coach, I never want to do that. But the more and more I grew into it, I’m so much like them, it makes sense that I absolutely love doing it now.
BI: What are you going to bring to the table?
MP: I think each one of us on staff is very different. Me being the youngest on staff, not only can I connect with the players when I sit down and we’re talking about life on the court, off the court type scenarios, there’s not a ton of age gap where I have been through it before and I can help guide them through it because I know where it’s going. And then, the ins and outs of Division I basketball, but also because of these different experiences. I’ve played at a really high level in a BCS school, Big Ten, I’ve played overseas, I’ve done basketball on my end for the longest and the highest I could go. I can bring that and teach these girls that also have that passion, that drive to play and be successful and get the best out of them. It’s been great so far.