WATSON – Michelle Morris, longtime a fixture with Live Oak High’s softball program – both as a player and coach – was relieved her duties as the school’s softball coach, LOHS principal Beth Jones said.
“She’s still going to be a part of Live Oak High School and a loyal supporter,” Jones said. “It’s time to move in a different direction.”
Jones said Morris’ status as a teacher at the school remains unaffected, where she’s taught web design, psychology, sociology.
“We want her here as long as she wants to stay here,” Jones said. “She’s a great person and a great teacher.”
Morris, who played for Live Oak and graduated in 1990, was informed of the decision by Jones and Live Oak athletic director Brett Beard on Friday.
It was the 16th season for Morris as head coach where the Lady Eagles, who had one senior starter in catcher Brett Leiva, finished with a 12-16 record after a first-round loss to St. Amant in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
“It’s not based on wins and losses,” Jones said. “It’s doing what we feel is best for the program and our students. After evaluating multiple things, we feel like this is the decision for us.
“She’s still a great coach, a great person,” Jones said. “We hope she stays involved with different things at the school. I don’t have any hard feelings with her. I appreciate everything she’s done for the program.”
The losing season was the first for Morris, who guided Live Oak to a 15-15 mark in 2018, a record that included a first-round exit in the Class 5A state playoffs against Ponchatoula.
The Lady Eagles were last in the state tournament in 2017 when they compiled a 20-9 record that featured a run to the state semifinals before falling to Ouachita Parish.
“I felt like the time was right to make a change,” Jones said. “I want to go in a bit of a different direction than what her vision was.
“She’s built a great program, we have a strong foundation here,” Jones said. “I just think it’s time to bring in some new blood and go another level with it and match our facilities.”
Live Oak’s in the midst of building a $7 million on-campus baseball/softball complex where the Lady Eagles are expected to play next season on an artificial turf field and facility with state-of-the-art technology and indoor batting cages.
With the end of the school year near, Jones would like to open up the job this week and possibility identify candidates to have someone place in time to run the offseason program.
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