Father of Gophers QB Tanner Morgan dies of brain tumor

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 09: Quarterback Tanner Morgan #2 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers looks to pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the third quarter at TCFBank Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images / FOX 9)

It’s safe bet that when University of Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan takes the field at Huntington Bank Stadium on Sept. 2 against Ohio State, he’ll do so with a heavy heart.

Ted Morgan, Tanner’s father, died Monday night after a year-plus battle with a brain tumor. Tanner Morgan took to social media late Monday to thank "the best dad ever."

"Tonight my Dad entered where his true citizenship is at. My Dad was a great man who loved serving other people. He served the Lord with passion and loved us deeply. If here were here today, his message would be to not wait for tragedy to strike to grow close to God. That was his message and that’s what I’m going to carry on. I’m thankful for how good the Lord has been through this trial. It may not have seemed like it, but the Lords favor was all over him throughout the entire journey," Tanner wrote.

It was believed Ted Morgan suffered a major stroke in May of 2020, when testing showed he had a brain tumor. He had surgery to remove it, but the fight was just starting.

With campus closed last spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanner went home to be with his Dad and his family. Ted coached him during his youth football days and was his biggest fan all the way to ending up with P.J. Fleck and the Gophers. Ted glowed when talking about Tanner with ESPN’s Holly Rowe, a cancer survivor, after the Gophers beat Penn State on a historic Saturday afternoon in 2019 at TCF Bank Stadium.

"Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want them, but he is still Good. He’s still for us. He draws near to the broken-hearted. It might look dark, but God is and was near the entire time. He was the best dad ever, and I’m grateful for how proud of me he was. I have so many great memories with him, from pee wee football to his interview at TCF when we beat Penn State. I’ll cherish our conversations about faith, and life in general. He loved everyone deeply, and I’m grateful for the time we had with him. He always told us to not doubt and disbelief. He showed me how to have real faith," Tanner wrote.

Tanner finished the 2019 season Second Team All-Big Ten, and set school records in passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and passing yards per game. He led the Gophers to an 11-2 season, its best in 115 years, after a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl.

Tanner is 18-8 as a starter and will enter his third season at quarterback for the Gophers. He knows Ted will be watching from above with every snap when the 2021 season starts.

"I love you Dad," Tanner wrote.