Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Coach Fred Morris

Beloved husband, father, coach and mentor, Fred Morris passed away after a short illness at the Blue Ridge Hospice in Winchester, VA, on December 5, 2015. Fred is survived by his wife Willene, his sister Mildred Greer, his brother Harold, his son Keith, and his daughter Krischele.

Fred coached both the men’s football and baseball teams in Louisville, MS, from 1957 to 1963. During his tenure, first as an assistant and then as head football coach, Louisville won three consecutive conference championships and another in 1962. Coach Morris’ baseball teams also won multiple conference & district championships.

Always a multi-sport athlete, Fred grew up in Mendenhall, MS, and first attended Wake Forest where he played both football and baseball for one year. He then transferred to Mississippi College, and, in 2007, was named to the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame. At Mississippi College, he was captain of the football team, was named All-Dixie Conference 3 years as running back and defensive back, and was 12-0 as pitcher for the baseball team against Mississippi College’s arch-rival Milsaps.

After his time in Louisville, Coach Morris was head football in Natchez from 1964-‘66 and then served for three years as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Mississippi State University. He then coached at the University of Idaho in Moscow, IA, for 2 years before returning to his first love, high school athletics. He again enjoyed great success at Kellogg, IA, winning a state championship while there. He then left coaching, but remained in education until his retirement in 1994.

Coach was a master at his craft, and he was years ahead of his time in football strategy; his organizational abilities and attention to detail both on the practice field and on game day were legendary. But his legacy goes far beyond the athletic field. His players admired and respected him; he was a stern taskmaster who insisted that his players give him nothing but their best. Ultimately, they discovered that it was not for his benefit, but for their own.

He had an uncommon ability to build a team from relatively modest talents; he saw abilities that were latent, refined them, and brought them together in the team. He had a great sense of humor, often using it to lighten the long, challenging days of practice, and his creative nicknames for his players were memorable. He was a powerful and singular figure in the lives of his players, and he will be long remembered.

A memorial service will be held in Louisville at a date yet to be determined.