Susie Morris is losing her office telephone. And passing on the coaches manual she created to help with the transition.
It’s not like Morris is leaving, but she decided it’s time to concentrate on one full-time job instead of two at Robert F. Munroe Day School in Quincy.
That’s why Morris, fresh out of college when she was hired by the school as a teacher and coach in 1980, has resigned as the Bobcats’ athletic director after 17 years.
Her tenure deserves hearty applause, but it is really not Morris’ style.
Morris will continue to give her heart to a school she loves, teaching computer classes and American History and happily providing institutional knowledge.
Jayme Williams, the Bobcats’ baseball coach, will start fielding telephone calls – and checking the manual when needed – next Wednesday as the school’s athletic director.
Williams, 39, will rely on his own leadership style and instincts, but he’s not oblivious either.
“I don’t want to rock the boat,” Williams said.
“I hope I can fill her shoes and continue the tradition.”
It’s neat when small school athletic programs do big things.
Morris knows the routine by heart.
Even with a high school student body of under 100, Munroe teams won 16 district titles, 11 state series quarterfinals, four state series semifinals and one regional final under Morris’ tenure.
More than a dozen athletes have also signed collegiate scholarships during that time, including stepson Jeremy Morris, considered one of the best all-around athletes in school history – he also starred in baseball at Florida State and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last fall.
Susie Morris, the first women’s scholarship basketball player at Presbyterian College, ferociously believed the Bobcats deserved the “absolute best” coaches, schedules, facilities and experiences that an athletic director can provide.
The school added on-campus baseball and softball fields and expanded its weight room over the past 17 years.
Coaches hired by Morris have included Scott Klees (football coach at Wakulla), Joey Striplin (football coach at West Gadsden), Tim Craft (basketball coach at Gardner-Webb), Todd McNeill (basketball), Kevin Ricks (baseball coach at Pace), Mike Troelstrup (baseball) and Williams, who has led the Bobcats to consecutive District 1-2A baseball titles.
The Morris family tree is planted on school grounds.
Morris’ daughter Spenser coached the Bobcats’ volleyball team to its first district title in eight years this past season. Mom, of course, coached the girls basketball team to a state title in 1994 and won over 350 games during her 18-year coaching career.
Naturally, there have been misses and mistakes along the way, too, but Morris will cherish the professional relationships with coaches and athletes.
“What makes her special is one she is a people’s person and gets along with everyone so well and two, she’s a former coach … so she understood what it took to be successful and run a successful program,” said Klees, who spent seven years at Munroe and won three district championships in three sports (football, basketball and softball) over a two-year span in 1999-2000.
“It’s a great place to coach and teach.”
Morris hosted her final Bobcats’ team banquet last week – she figures she has held, hosted and attended 49 banquets. That’s a lot of “good job” speeches.
Morris did a good job, too.
And now she can concentrate on one job entering her 36th year at Munroe.
“I had not planned on staying down here when I was hired,” said Morris, a South Carolina native who married Kirby Morris 30 years ago.
“But I met my husband and the rest is a fairy tale.”