Grundy County hires Bryan Morris to lead Jacket baseball program
The Grundy County School System has made another big “splash” hire. Former MLB pitcher Bryan Morris, of Tullahoma, has been named as the head coach of the Yellow Jacket baseball program. Morris succeeds Chase Jones, who chose to resign late in the summer to seek other job opportunities.
The move to hire Morris comes on the heels of the hiring of former Tennessee Volunteer and Detroit Lion Tracy Hayworth as head coach of the Yellow Jacket football team. The hiring of the two former professional athletes to guide our football and baseball programs is the big “splash” the athletic department and the entire school system has needed to move forward from the negative publicity of the recent past.
Morris comes to Grundy County with an impressive background in baseball. After a tremendous high school career at Tullahoma High School, where he led the Wildcats to the state tournament as a senior, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays.
He turned the Rays down and seized the opportunity to play baseball for the Motlow State Bucks, where his father, Ricky Morris, was an assistant coach. Following a season with the Bucks, Morris was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft.
He spent the summer of 2006 pitching in the Dodgers’ organization and at the end of the season underwent elbow surgery. After rehabilitating his elbow the entire 2017 season, Morris was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 2008 season. Morris worked his way through the minors with the Pirates and made his debut in the big leagues as a reliever during the 2012 season. He pitched for the Pirates until he was traded to the Miami Marlins in June of 2014.
Bryan pitched for the Marlins until the end of the 2016 season. He became a free agent at that time and also underwent his first back surgery.
He signed with the San Francisco Giants for the 2017 season. Spring training proved to be tough for Bryan, as he re-injured his back and broke his foot. He finally was able to pitch for the Giants as he made his debut on May 1, 2017. A few weeks later, he was released by the Giants and during the fall of 2017, he underwent a second back surgery. Following the surgery, he made the decision to retire from professional baseball.
He spent the spring of 2018 at his alma mater, Tullahoma High School, as an assistant baseball coach for head coach Philip King.
Bryan said, “I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.”
He added, “It had its ups and downs, but that’s life and part of the journey and I was able to achieve a lifelong goal of playing major league baseball.”
When asked about the opportunity to be the head coach of the Yellow Jacket baseball program, he had this to say, “I know that I wanted to coach after my playing career. I want to thank Coach King for the opportunities he gave me at Tullahoma. He allowed me to take on responsibilities with our summer program to get the experience I need to become a head coach. After meeting with Mr. Woodlee (Grundy County athletic director Leon Woodlee) it was an easy decision. Grundy County has great facilities, has always had baseball talent, and it was an opportunity to build on a program that is already established.”