Gary Cordell has long been a big contributor to the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament serving as tournament director for six years. On June 9, however, he was finally relieved of his duties and played in his first Morris tournament.
Photo by Max Foster.
The foursome of Brian Echols, Jessie Smith, Sabrina Cly and Virgil Cly hooked up to win the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament by posting a card of 53.
Virgil Cly and Smith are no strangers to the Payson Golf Course tournament site where the two helped carve out the team victory. As Payson Golf Association members, both play there at least one time each week.
Sabrina Cly, however, was testing the waters.
“This was the first time I have played this year,” she said.
The annual benefit, which raises funds for the Payson High School football program and two annual scholarships, drew 94 players on June 8 to PGC.
Also in the field was Gary Cordell, the man who helped found the tournament and served as director for six years before two years ago turning it over to the Morris family, including Jack’s widow, Dawn.
“This is the first one I’ve played in,” Cordell said on Saturday before teeing off.
Several of Jack’s family, including his brothers and two daughters, played in the tournament.
His mother, Terry, helped host the event.
Cable, his younger brother, won a 50-50 raffle and an engraved Margaritaville golf bag.
Each year, the tournament generates thousands of dollars for the football program and two scholarships that are awarded PHS seniors at the end of each school year in Morris’ name.
Jack died Feb. 23, 2004 in a Phoenix hospital of complications from a stroke. He was 34 at the time of his death.
Jack’s coaching career began in 1995 as an assistant at Rim Country Middle School and peaked in 1998 as the line coach on the undefeated state championship PHS team.
Morris’ two brothers, Cable and Josh Barnhardt, were starters on the championship team.
After Jack’s one year at RCMS, he was obviously hooked on coaching and moved to the high school where he coached undefeated freshman and junior varsity squads.
At the time of his death, Jack was serving as an assistant to then-PHS head coach Jerry Rhoades.
In 1986, he was a senior member of the Longhorn team that advanced to the state championship where it lost a 7-0 heartbreaker to Snowflake. His jersey number 70 was retired in 2004 during homecoming and now hangs in Wilson Dome.