By R. Alan Richardson
At Morgan County’s final home game of the 2018-19 season, the high school basketball teams honored several former high school basketball coaches at MCHS. These coaches spanned several generations of basketball at our storied institution.
They laid the foundation for the many years that followed where MOCO has been at the forefront of basketball in the state of Georgia.
Their contributions cannot be measured in wins and losses, but only in the number of kids that came through the programs that they coached, mentored, loved, and made an impression on.
The basketball programs, under the guidance of Josh Reeves and Jamond Sims, should be commended for the job they do at recognizing important groups of people that have made an impact on the program that we have today. Basketball booster club President Shelia Carter???, whose tireless work behind the scenes is responsible for a lot of the recognitions, should be commended for all the things she does to make this a special place to be compared to anywhere in the state.
Thank you Mrs. Shelia! You do a great job and we are proud to have you in our corner.
Former coaches that were recognized were:
Demonica Franklin came back to Morgan County after a stellar career at MCHS as a player under Jeanette Looney and Steve Cisson where she played a key role on the Elite Eight teams in 1992 and 1994. She returned to coach for one year in 1998-99.
Jack Williams graduated and played basketball for the late Reggie Ross. His senior year team in 1975 was the very first team in MCHS history to compete in the State Quarterfinals. He went on to play three years at Georgia College and then returned home as an assistant coach with Coach Donald Harris for the next 20 years from 1983-2003. Williams has recently retired after stints as the head basketball coach and athletic director at Putnam County High School.
Jeanette Looney was a first-team Junior College All-American at Truett-McConnell where her jersey is retired. She then played two more years at Mercer University where the team advanced to the D-II Final Four. In 1985, she started her career at Morgan as an assistant under Cisson. Looney coached girls’ basketball for 26 years and led the 91-92 MCHS girls to the Elite Eight.
Kathy Hubbard is not only a State Champion basketball player in 1983 for Cisson’s and Morgan County’s team, but also has a daughter (Aris) with a ring of her own from the 2016 State Championship team under Josh Reeves. She was the head coach of the MCHS girls’ program from 2006-2010.
Ron Thomas started his coaching career in 1964 and retired in 2006 after stints at Fort Lauderdale, Tucker, Brookwood, and Morgan County. He is most well-known for creating the Deep South Classic at Brookwood and the Sweet South Classic at MCHS. The Sweet South became the second largest Christmas Tournament in the Country in 2005 where Morgan hosted 80 teams from six states.
Coach Donald Harris is the winningest boys’ coach in MCHS basketball history with 380 wins and 250 losses. He only had six losing seasons in his illustrious 25-year career. The Coach taught science for the Morgan County School System for more than 30 years and has the Sweet South Classic Boys’ Bracket named after him for all his years of service and success. He also led the 1986 and 1990 teams to the Final Four.
Steve Cisson is also the winningest girls’ coach in MCHS basketball history. His resume and record speaks for itself. Hired in 1975, Cisson spent the next 41 years as a teacher, coach, and athletic director here. His 17 years as the girls’ basketball coach sport a 323-125 win-loss record. His teams made ten appearances in the State Playoffs, won 20 or more game eight times, and won the 1983 State Championship.
Reggie Ross came to Morgan County in 1973 as the first African-American head coach in school history. Ross had a successful eight-year career with his 1974-75 team being the first MCHS team ever to compete in the State Championship Quarterfinals. Coach Ross leaves his legacy with his wife Canzata, son Shun, grandson Reggie, and granddaughter Janaisha.
In his memory, the Morgan County Tip-off Club will rename the January Shootout Tournament to the Reginald Ross Shooting Stars.