Morrell, who coached the Grizzlies since the football program was established in 2005, announced his retirement midway through the 2012 season, leaving the Creekview administration with the difficult task of finding his replacement.
Athletic director Kevin Higgins said that while the hiring process still had a way to go before the school would be able to determine who would be leading the Grizzlies onto the field next year, progress has been made.
“We started taking applications before the winter break, around the second week of December,” Higgins said. “The number of applications we were receiving slowed down a little bit over the break, but now that school has started again, I expect the process to pick back up.”
Higgins said that the school had received just over 30 applications for the job so far, and that by the end of the process, that number could double.
Rather than wait for more applications, Higgins hopes to begin interviewing potential candidates in the coming week.
Though Higgins hopes to eventually hire the right candidate to replace Morrell, he admitted that the chances of finding a coach with the same qualities were slim.
“Morrell just had his own personality and a way that he could work with people,” Higgins said. “He worked well with everybody, had a really good reputation with the parents and, when things came up that needed to be handled, he handled them. We can’t look for another Morrell, because they are few and far in between.”
By losing Morrell, Creekview lost a coach that finished his tenure with a .658 winning percentage and made three trips to the state playoffs.
Higgins believes Morrell’s work with the program will benefit the school in the search for his replacement.
“The program is in good shape, so the job is an attractive job,” Higgins said. “We have a good track record and relatively new facilities, so I think that we are going to have a pretty good pool (of candidates) to choose from.”
When looking at potential candidates, one of the main things Higgins wants to see is someone who is willing to commit to the program.
“We want someone that is going to be here for the long haul,” Higgins said. “Morrell built a good program, and we want someone that will continue to build the program. We want success to continue and to be better for it.”
The success of the football team is not the only thing on Higgins’ mind, however, when looking for Morrell’s successor.
“One of the most important things is to find somebody that is going to work with the kids, for the kids, and be about the kids,” Higgins said. “That’s the philosophy at Creekview — it’s for the kids.”
While Higgins has no limit on the number of candidates who may be interviewed for the job, he does hope that the process will have concluded within the next six weeks, before spring practice begins.
“We want to interview everybody that we think has the qualities we are looking for, so the number we interview isn’t set in stone,” Higgins said. “But with spring sports beginning soon, we want the process to be done as quickly as possible.”