Just a few weeks ago, Zach Morrison was an assistant offensive line coach and head wrestling coach at Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA), and now he's leading a Division II program in the heart of the south.
Like most coaches, Morrison had dreams of being a head coach and running his own program. So when the job at his alma mater, Shorter University (D-II - GA) opened up, Morrison saw it as a rare and special opportunity to give back to the program that he played for and that gave so much to him and his teammates.
Morrison was part of the foundation of Shorter football, as an offensive lineman on the schools first football team in 2005. He started every game during his four seasons with the program and was named Student Athlete of the Year in 2008. In 2013, Morrison was inducted into the Shorter Athletic Hall of Fame. Tony Lundy, a former offensive coordinator for the program, ended up being the athletic director that hired him and interestingly enough, Lundy officially began his AD duties on Monday.
Now, going from high school assistant coach to the head coach of a Division II program is incredibly rare, so I reached out to Zach to get some insight into how he did it.
Morrison shared that he sold the interview committee on the ideals that made him and many other former players the men that they are today, with a program based on "relationships with each other, the coaches, the administration, and most importantly, God."
After viewing the program from the perspective of an alum, Morrison felt like the culture needed to change if he were to be tasked with taking the program over. His vision for the culture of his program centered on the concept of competition.
"The mentality is to win, in everything. Everything counts, whatever the men are asked to do they'll be asked to work to the best of the ability. Players will be evaluated in everything they do from effort, to assignment, to technique."
Morrison also shared that he knows a higher power played a role in him landing the job as well.
"I believe it is the grace of God that I am here in this position to create a new culture that will create Christ-centered men of character."
Morrison and his staff will have their work cut out for them, as Shorter hasn't won a game in a few years, dating back to October of 2015. Aaron Kelton, who led the program for two seasons, went 0-22.
In Morrison, Shorter is clearly getting a coach and individual who cares deeply about the program and campus community. The unconventional journey from high school assistant to leader of a Division II program will have its learning curves, but I get the feeling that Morrison is ready to take those on and grow as a coach in the process to lead a (still young) Shorter program into a brighter future.