Former Shades Valley star honors late father after Elite Eight win

(WIAT) — Mississippi State point guard Morgan William captured headlines after her record-breaking 41 point performance against Baylor. But it’s what happened after the game that captured the country’s hearts.

William could hardly get through her emotional post game interview, the reason? Her career night came almost three years to the day after losing the man she once called “coach.”

“Just after the game it came down on me. And I was just like “dang”. I just started crying. They asked me what’s my motivation and I couldn’t even speak. It’s just for him. It was just one of those moments,” said William.

Less than a month after leading Shades Valley High School to the 2014 6A state title, Morgan’s step father, Donnie Rory, suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was only 44.

“He coached her, her whole career. He was just a very special guy. And she wouldn’t be where she is today if it wasn’t for him,” said Morgan’s mother Monica Rory. 

“The emotion that Morgan showed at the end of the game was everything he put in her. Those nights we practiced late and after game. And the next morning at 6am. She released it,” said Morgan’s high school coach Tonya Hunter.

“We bumped heads a lot. Like I don’t want to go to the gym sometimes. I want to sleep a little longer. He be like ‘Morgan, you need to get up. You can’t be average if you want to be great,'” William recalled of her step father. 

Morgan was asked which career win was more meaningful, her state championship at Shades Valley or advancing to the Final Four – her answer was easy. 

“State Championship back home. Just because my step dad was there. Right after the game I could have sworn he was in the stands, but he was right behind the bench giving me a hug and telling me he was proud of me. But going to the final four – you can’t take that away from me,” said William.

William and Mississippi State will play UConn in the Women’s NCAA Final Four.

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