Morris stepping down as BL hoop coach

Buckeye Local is in the market for a new head boys’ basketball coach.

Jay Morris tendered his resignation to Panthers’ officials Tuesday afternoon, citing a change in his job status at Ohio University Eastern as his main reason for stepping down.

“It’s a tough decision because I feel like I’m officially a part of Buckeye Local and everyone has treated me great,” Morris said.

Morris has been promoted to spearhead a new Ohio University branch campus venture between OUE and OU-Zanesville.

According to Morris, the two institutions are teaming up for a building in Cambridge, which will allow more online and video conferencing classes for students.

“Dean (Richard) Greenlee has been great about me coaching at Buckeye Local,” Morris said. “He asked me to do this job and it’s a good opportunity for me professionally. I’ve known for the last couple of weeks that this was going to happen, but I didn’t want to take the focus off basketball and the kids.”

The new venture between the schools will begin in the fall and will require Morris to work upwards of four days a week in Guernsey County. He won’t be making it back to the Ohio Valley until later in the evening, which makes practices a challenge.

“I’m going to be the only person in Cambridge, so it’s not like I can leave early during basketball season,” Morris said. “The kids and parents have sacrificed for me before with late practices and what not, but this just going to be too late.”

Morris met with his players Tuesday and delivered the news.

“The kids were kind of surprised,” Morris said. “Everything at Buckeye Local has been top notch, and I just hope I left the program in good shape for the next coach.”

Morris guided the Panthers for the last three seasons and just finished the 2012-13 campaign last Friday when they fell to Meadowbrook in the sectional.

Next season will be the first time in 23 years that Morris isn’t coaching basketball at some level.

“It’s really going to be a void for me,” Morris said. “But, Tuesday and Friday look like days where I won’t have to stay as late, so at least I’ll be able to go and watch some games and watch these kids play.”

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