Just a few minutes ago, via my cohort Russ and a couple of others, I had was told that Guy Morriss, our head coach from 2009-2012 has passed away at the age of 71. Aside from being the Head Man in Commerce, he was Head Coach at Baylor from 2002-2007, and Kentucky from 2001-2002. A Native of Colorado City, Texas, Morriss loved his family, love football, loved coaching, and loved the Great State of Texas.
When I started this site, I spoke with Coach Morriss before the 2012 season started. He invited me into his office. We talked about everything from his early days coaching with Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at Valdosta State in forming the Air Raid, to his days at Kentucky and the infamous and premature Gatorade Bath he got. He knew he got heat for it but he laughed it off. “At least I was cooled down after the game” he told me with a laugh. He also encouraged me to keep writing. “Keep at it, Man, this program is going to turn around one day soon, and you need to be there to capture it.” He was totally right.
Even though his time in Commerce was not particularly fruitful in the win column, we owe him.
His first year, we went 5-1 in LSC play and won the North Division outright.
In 2010, thanks to his fundraising efforts, we were able to rebuild the 3,500 east side seats with a new press box, a jumbotron scoreboard, new concessions and restrooms, and a stadium wide WIFI network.
He started the tradition of wearing the East Texas State throwback uniforms for Homecoming and big rivalry games.
He honored previous Lion great coaches and players and invited them to be a part of the program.
He started our dominance over Texas A&M-Kingsville with an overtime win in the rain over a ranked Hogs squad in Commerce in 2012. We would never relinquish the Chennault Cup again.
He LOVED the roll call and said it was “a great college football tradition, what football is all about.”
He graduated with his Master’s degree from TAMUC, and got a standing ovation from his players when he did.
He stayed behind for a year and a half to help new AD Ryan Ivey create a new culture, a culture of winning in Commerce. Ask Ryan Ivey, his knowledge was invaluable.
Finally, he encouraged a 25 year old grad school student getting his MBA who just had a computer and a desire to see his school succeed, to “keep writing.”
This one is for you, Guy Morriss.
“When the roll is called up yonder, we’ll be there!”