Returning to his alma mater, Bryan Morris was officially hired as the new head baseball coach at Tullahoma High School on Wednesday.
“I’m thrilled to be back home and am looking forward to being a part of Tullahoma’s historic baseball program,” Morris said.
Morris, a 2005 THS graduate, takes over after Phillip King stepped down from his position as Wildcats’ coach in May. King coached Tullahoma from a 2015 until this past season.
While playing at Tullahoma, Morris brought home plenty of accolades, including the Tennessee Louisville Slugger Player of the Year Award in 2005. That same season, he was also named the Tennessee Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year, as well as the Tennessee Pro Line Player of the Year.
Morris continued his career at Motlow State Community College for one season before being selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft. In September of 2012, Morris made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates during a home contest.
In 2017, Morris officially put his playing days behind him, announcing his retirement. During his career, the right-hander pitched for the Pirates, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants.
In six seasons, Morris put together a 20-12 record as a relief pitcher with a 3.13 ERA in 236 innings pitched. He recorded 168 strikeouts in his 231 games pitched.
After retiring, Morris immediately went to the coaching side, returning to Tullahoma as pitching coach during the 2018 season. Last year, Morris served as head coach at Grundy County, leading the Yellow Jackets to a sectionals berth in the playoffs.
“We had a lot of balls go our way late in the season,” Morris said. “When you play baseball, you’re going to have those breaks … We were fortunate to have those last year.”
After last season concluded, Morris said that he had talked to several people about possibly taking over the Wildcats’ program. Included in those conversations was Morris’ head coach Scott Hargrove.
“Once a coach, always a coach, because he was giving me advice. He told me about his experiences … He didn’t say anything that had me running away though,” Morris said smiling.
Jokes aside, Morris again stated that he was “blessed” to be returning to coach his alma mater. Echoing that sentiment, THS Athletic Director John Olive said he was excited about the new hire.
“We are thrilled to have Bryan back,” Olive sad. “He played baseball here and when he came out of the majors, we were his first coaching stop … We had a really, really good interview with us and we look forward to handing the reigns of our baseball program over to him.”
Morris will not be teaching at Tullahoma High School. After seeing how Morris presents himself and with his background, Olive said he and the school’s administration felt comfortable making a non-faculty hire.
In his one season at Grundy County, Morris led the Yellow Jackets to a 16-16 record, finishing as the District 7-AA Runner-Up. His team followed that by defeating Smith County 6-2 in the Region 4-AA Semifinal, ensuring itself an automatic spot in sectionals.
After losing to Sequatchie County 3-0 in the Region 4-AA Championship Game, Grundy County was forced to head to Loudon to play for a state tournament berth. The Yellow Jackets saw their season end there with a 3-0 loss.
According to Morris, his one year in Coalmont was a learning experience. If had one takeaway from last season, he said it could be summed up in a single word.
“Just being consistent,” Morris said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for some of these younger kids is to know what to expect.”
Heading into his new position, Morris has said that he has an idea on what his coaching staff is going to look like. However, he’s still making finalizations on that end and declined to comment on who might possibly be added to his staff.
Morris and his wife, Chelsey, have been married for 10 years and live in Winchester. They have two kids, Colt Morris, 3, and Lyncoln Morris, 3 months old.
Olive added that he and Morris are working on a date so the community can come in and meet the new Wildcats’ head coach. As of now that date has been slated as July 8, however that date could be moved.