The Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament is more than an opportunity for those who knew the former Payson High School football coach to remember their fallen friend.
It’s also a chance to help raise scholarship money for a deserving PHS graduating senior and funds for the Longhorn football program that Morris was once such a big part of.
Scholarship winners in past years have included Donnie Wilbanks, Jadyn Walden, Carlos Lopez and Courtney Morris, Jack’s eldest daughter.
The 2009 winner, which was announced at PHS graduation last evening, is Jeff Day.
After the $1,500 scholarship money is deducted from tournament proceeds, the remainder benefits the football team. In 2007, that amounted to about $6,800.
This year, the scramble tournament, which is open to all amateur golfers, tees off at 7:30 a.m. June 20 with a shotgun start.
The entry fee is $85 per player, which includes green fees, cart, food and prize money.
“We need as many players as possible because the money is for the kids,” tournament director Gary 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 pre-selected 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.
While the name of the game is golf, many who participate fondly remember Morris who died Feb. 23, 2004 of complications from a stroke.
He was 34 at the time of his death and an assistant coach for the Longhorn football team.
In 1998, he was the line coach on the undefeated PHS team that won the Class 3A state championship.
Morris’ two brothers, Cable Morris and Josh Barhardt, were starters on the team.
Jack Morris began his career in 1995 at Rim Country Middle School coaching many of the players who three years later made up the PHS title team.
After one year at RCMS, he moved to the high school where he coached undefeated freshman and junior varsity squads.
In 1986, he was a senior member of the Longhorn team that advanced to state where it lost a 7-0 heartbreaker to Snowflake.
On the team, he was a member of the offensive and defensive lines, along with his closest friend, Mark Velasco, who nicknamed themselves “The Bruise Brothers.”
Morris graduated from Payson High in 1987. His jersey number 70 was retired in 2004 during homecoming halftime ceremonies on Longhorn field. The number now hangs in Wilson Dome.
In September 2007, Courtney Morris was elected PHS homecoming queen and wore her father’s original jersey in the parade on Main Street.
For more information about the tournament, call Cordell at (928) 970-1584.