Bill Morningstar, the current head coach of the Elon University men's golf team, will retire in May 2013 after the men's golf season wraps up, according to an e-mail sent to faculty and staff today by athletic director Dave Blank.

"It is with great gratitude that I inform you on the retirement of Bill Morningstar ’64, Director of Golf and Head Men’s Golf Coach, effective after the 2013 spring season in May," Blank said in the e-mail. "During his 41 years as a student-athlete, teacher and coach at Elon University, Bill has touched the lives of so many people and he is truly one of the icons of Elon Athletics."

Morningstar took over the program in 1972 as the head coach as well as serving as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team. He also coached the cross country team for a time.

In 1982, Morningstar was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year for his efforts in leading the Fighting Christians. That season, Elon had three NAIA All-Americans and captured the NAIA National Title, which was played at Burlington's Alamance Country Club.

Morningstar was inducted into the Elon Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988 and he is also a member of the NAIA Coaches' Hall of Fame, South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame, and the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame.

"The entire Elon Athletics Department deeply appreciates Bill, his contributions and accomplishments during his time here at Elon University," Blank said in the e-mail. "We wish him nothing but the best in his well-deserved years of retirement."

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Morningstar is quoted in a release by on his impending retirement.

"Over the 41 years that I’ve been at Elon, along with the four years that I was a player here, there were so many people who touched my life in so many ways. I am extremely grateful to Bill Miller for giving me the opportunity to return to Elon as an assistant basketball coach.  Without him, I never would have spent my entire career at Elon or had the chance to also coach cross country and golf."

"I've been so fortunate to have so many good people around to make my stay of 41 years here at Elon feel more like time with my family than time at work. I feel that if you love what you do, your job never feels like work in the typical sense of the word.”

"I’m part owner of a golf course in Virginia, so I’ll probably spend a lot of time up there. I just want to have a few more years to travel and lay back and be one of the biggest supporters that Elon’s ever had. Elon is something that I will truly miss, but I will still be a big part of the community.”

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