Memorial Golf Tournament Honors Former Football Coach

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Former friends and teammates of Jack Morris will have the opportunity to honor his memory Saturday, June 23 at a golf tournament played each year since his death in 2004.

Morris, who died from complications of a stroke, was an assistant coach at Payson High School and instrumental in helping the Longhorns earn the 1998 Class 3A football state championship.

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Donnie Garvin blasts his way out of a sand trap during the playing of the 2006 Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament. This year, the tournament will be played June 23.

Prior to coaching at PHS, he co-coached the Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade football team.

Morris graduated from PHS in 1987 and was a senior member of the 1986 football team that reached the state championship.

He was 34 years old at the time of his death.

The three previous memorial tournaments were played on the Saturday before Father's Day, but tournament director Gary Cordell opted to move the date this year.

"I thought (the new date) would be better for everyone," Cordell said.

The proceeds from the annual tournament benefit the high school football program and also fund a scholarship in Morris' memory.

The original Morris scholarship, in 2005, was awarded to Donnie Wilbanks. Last year it went to Jadyn Walden, and at the graduation ceremonies for the class of 2007, the $1,500 stipend was given to Carlos Lopez.

After the scholarships are funded, the remainder of the tournament proceeds benefit the Longhorn football program. In 2006, the links fray earned an estimated $8,500.

PHS football coach Josh Anderson expressed his gratitude at last year's benefit saying the money earned would help purchase much-needed items that are not available in the financially-strapped school athletic budget.

In 2005 and 2006, the foursome of Troy Ford, Paul Bucich, Brian Johnson and Briggs Ashman won the low gross championship.

Since the inception of the tournament, the field has also included members of Morris' family, some of his former coaches, ex-players and high school teammates.

The format

The scramble tournament, which is open to all amateur golfers, tees off at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start.

The entry fee is $85 per player, which includes green fees, cart, food and prize money.

The field, which has been limited to the first 110 golfers, is full, Cordell said.

Prizes will include closest-to-the-pin awards on all par-3 holes, longest drive in the fairways and a hole-in-one prize on a preselected hole.

The tournament golf committee is currently accepting other raffle prizes and hole sponsors. All donations are tax-deductible and a tax ID number is available.

For more information, call Cordell at (928) 474-4401.

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