Grizzlies’ Morrell to retire
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
October 21, 2012 02:03 AM | 3133 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 31 years as a football coach, with the last seven at the helm of the Creekview Grizzlies, Al Morrell has decided to call it quits, and will retire at the end of the season.

“I’ve been doing this for 31 years,” the 55-year-old Morrell said. “I guess I’m just ready for a change.”

The decision may come as a surprise to some, as Creekview currently sits atop Region 7AAAAA (A) with a 6-1 record. But despite the fact that he may be leaving just as the Grizzlies reach a new level of success on the field, Morrell said that he felt it was the right time to step away from the game.

Morrell, who has led Creekview to a 45-24 record during his tenure with only one losing season, listed off-the-field responsibilities as one of the main reasons that he decided to retire.

“You can’t ever really relax as a head coach,” Morrell said. “With all of the stuff that you have to deal with off the field, you never get a break. You have a lot of responsibility that doesn’t even involve coaching. A lot of coaches get burnt out this way.”

The amount of work required both on and off the field wasn’t the only determining factor in his decision, Morrell said, as the future financial situation of teachers also had a hand in it as well.

“The way the state has changed the laws regarding teacher retirement,” Morell said, “anyone who retires past 2013 will get a 3 percent cut in pay for their retirement.

“If I was going to retire within the next few years anyway, financially it made sense to get out now.”

Morrell began his coaching career at Osborne High School in 1981 as junior varsity football and baseball coach.

After a year, he moved to nearby Wheeler, where he would work as an assistant football coach, as well as the school’s baseball coach, for the next five years.

In 1987, Morrell took an assistant coaching position at Marietta, while also coaching the baseball team.

It was in 1993 that Morrell first came to coach in Cherokee county when he was hired on as Etowah’s offensive coordinator.

It was during his eight years at Etowah, which is his longest stint at any school so far, that Morrell gave up coaching baseball to focus on football.

In 2001, former Sequoyah coach Sid Maxwell hired Morrell on as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, and there he would reside until Creekview opened in 2005, when Morrell became the first, and as of now, only head coach of the Grizzlies.

Morrell was quick to express his appreciation towards the entire Creekview community and thank the school for his time there.

“I would describe my time at Creekview as an awesome experience,” Morrell said.

“Creekview has been a great place to work. I’ve had a great group of kids here, and some wonderful assistant coaches that are like my best friends. I’m just thankful for the years that I have been able to spend here and the winning tradition that we’ve been able to establish.”

As for the future, Morrell said he didn’t really know what is in store.

“Well, I’m not really sure of what I’ll be doing when I retire,” Morrell said. “I have a new piece of property and I’ve been building a barn, so I have a few things to work on at home. I’m just going to take it one day at a time.”
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