The most successful Little League baseball coach in Columbus history is about to take a swing at coaching older players.
Randy Morris, who led Northern to the Little League World Series twice in the last five years, will join the Northside High School coaching staff as a community coach.
The 47-year-old is giving up Little League coaching after 14 successful seasons that included the 2006 World Championship, five Georgia state championships and three Southeastern Regional appearances. His teams have played 13 nationally televised games, including six in the regionals and World Series this year.
“He has been on TV a lot more than I will ever be,” Northside baseball coach David Smart said. “I thought, ‘We need that guy around.’”
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Smart, who made the first move to recruit Morris, said he will make Northside’s program stronger.
“I have always thought Randy has done a good job,” Smart said. “He has taken two different groups of kids to the World Series. I like the way he carries himself. And, he knows baseball.”
Morris said he was “flattered by the offer.”
“It was an emotional decision — one that I gave a lot of thought and prayer,” he said.
The Georgia High School Association defines a community coach as a person who does not have professional-level certification but works under a certified professional. They are limited to assistant coaching roles.
Morris will coach catchers and work as a hitting instructor.
One of the things Morris and Smart talked about was the possibility that some of the players on this year’s World Series team could follow their coach to Northside. The 12 players are all in the seventh- and eighth-grade, facing decisions about which high school they will attend.
“To be honest with you, that would be a great benefit if that happened,” Smart said. “But I want him whether any of those guys come or not.”
“Naturally, we would like to get every player we can get,” he said.
Morris, a 1981 Columbus High graduate, played at Chattahoochee Valley Community College, where he earned his associate’s degree. To become a full-time coach and teacher, Morris would have complete his bachelor’s degree.
“I have thought about being a high school coach, and I want to get into this and see if it is something I like,” he said. “I don’t know if that is something I would ever pursue, but I would certainly never close out that option.”
Morris is an independent businessman who owns a Little Debbie Snack Cake franchise that services Phenix City and parts of south Columbus.
Columbus High coach Bobby Howard said Morris was a quality coach.
“There is no doubt he can coach at any level,” Howard said. “The same things that win at Northern Little League will win on other levels.”
Morris has to go through a certification process that should be completed in December, long before the high school baseball season starts.