The importance of stability cannot be overstressed in athletics.
It doesn’t matter if it’s at the high school, collegiate or professional level.
Apalachee High School’s Kevin Morris is proof that stability is vital to the long-term success of a program.
The school’s boys basketball coach has been at his post for numerous years. There has been success (trips to the Final Four) and some difficult times (a one-win season recently.) However, through all it, Morris has provided a steady and effective hand of leadership for his program.
In a time when many believe winning should be as easy as the snap of your fingers, Morris shows, through his hard work, that coaches, like in any profession, are going to have ups and downs.
Rare is the program which wins at a high level every season. The reason is simple. Turnover. Players graduate each year. It’s not like the pros, where a coach can have a player for six, seven, eight or more years.
High school coaches have to work with the hand they are dealt.
Morris has always been an entertaining coach to watch. His enthusiasm and intensity are tough to match. Despite his youth, Morris has to be considered a veteran coach now and he has not lost an ounce of his energy for the job.
As the new season continues, the AHS boys basketball team has already shown it is capable of plenty of offensive fireworks. The team defeated two AAAAAA opponents to get the season started before falling on the road to Clarke Central Saturday.
Win or lose, Morris is the same. When his team struggled a few seasons ago, Morris wasn’t one to hide or run away from dealing with the press. He answered questions, gave his thoughts on why things weren’t going well and told anyone who would listen that the situation would improve eventually.
The coach has been proven right.
The team has increased its wins total dramatically since 2010-2011 when it finished 1-23. The following season saw six wins and the season after that finished with 17.
It’s still too early to tell what will happen by the time the 2013-2014 campaign has come to a close. However, already they are signs of perhaps something special. Several players have shown they have the skill and ability to make plays on the court, be it on the offensive end or the defensive side of things.
AHS will play a 16-game region schedule and will look to advance to state by the time all things are said and done.
One thing we do know for sure is that the Wildcats have a steady, effective hand of guidance in Morris helping them be as successful as they can.
In a day of coaches arriving, staying a brief time and then going on their way (by their choice or otherwise), AHS is fortunate to have had Morris directing the varsity boys program as long as he has.
It’s a lesson in patience and a lesson in not having snap reactions to one season which may not go your way.
It’s tough to tell at this early stage just how far the Wildcats will go this season. However, based on some early signs there is a chance this team could make some noise.
No doubt it will be entertaining to watch as the season unfolds.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.