Jenna Morris, Katy Champion

Katy Champion walks off the mat, exhausted and holding back tears after scoring a semifinal win back in February at the TSSAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament in Franklin. While Champion is exhausted, her head coach, Jenna Morris, is all smiles. 

Over the last four years, the Tullahoma High School girls wrestling team has had plenty of success on the mat.

On Monday though, it was off the mat where the Lady Wildcats shined. In a press release sent out by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), Jenna Morris was named the High School Girls Head Coach of the Year for Tennessee.

“It’s an honor, but it’s not something that’s strictly for myself. It’s something where everyone around me deserves,” Morris said. “It’s something that [THS boys wrestling coach] Al Morris deserves, [assistant] Jeff Lester deserves, [assistant] Sean Adkins and my assistant coach Tori Feuerbacher and her husband Eric Feuerbacher deserves. To me, it’s an award for everyone involved. It’s not just me. It’s an honor to be recognized though and I think it can only help us grow into the program that we want to become.”

After being named the state’s Coach of the Year, Morris automatically qualified to be in the running for the NWCA National Coach of the Year. That national distinction went to Mike Simmons from Oregon.

“Our Scholastic Coach of the Year Awards Program, which honors our nation’s coaches who work tirelessly on behalf of their athletes, is one of my favorite NWCA initiatives,” said Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director. “At a time when coaches are needed now more than ever, we get to take time and thank the entire profession by recognizing their peers at the state, section, and national levels. Thanks to those who we call Coach.”

Last February, Tullahoma saw three wrestlers become repeat state medalists. Katy Champion finished second at the TSSAA State Individual Tournament, making her a three-time state medalist. Divine Desilets finished third on her way to becoming a two-time state medalist. Destiny Shelton placed fifth, making her a two-time state medalist.

“We continuously have and retain one of the largest teams in the state of Tennessee,” Morris said. “We are more focused on the opportunities these girls are finally provided and the standards these girls are setting for generations to follow.”

Prior to taking over as the girls wrestling coach, Morris watched the sport from the sidelines, as her husband Al ran the Wildcats’ program. When Morris took over the helm of the Lady Wildcats, she said she learned and is still learning a lot from her husband.

“Not only has Al taught me everything that a head coach does – even though I spent years around a head coach, I still never understood what a head coach does behind the scenes. I didn’t know about that until I had to do it myself,” Morris said. “Not only did Al teach me that, but he gives me advice on how to handle certain situations with kids, parents, other coaches on top of scheduling and learning the sport of wrestling in general.

“If it weren’t Lester and how technical he is and just being able to learn from these great wrestlers in Tori and Eric, we wouldn’t be anywhere near the type of program that we are now and I wouldn’t be able to take them anywhere near the places that we want to go.”

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