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Jemison tennis legacy coaches Huntsville to state title

First and second: Reece Morton, the son of long-time Jemison High School tennis coach Benton Morton, coached Huntsville High School’s boys to a second-place finish and the girls to a state championship in his second season at the helm.

First and second: Reece Morton, the son of long-time Jemison High School tennis coach Benton Morton, coached Huntsville High School’s boys to a second-place finish and the girls to a state championship in his second season at the helm.

By Ryan Bass | Special to the Advertiser

If you had asked Reece Morton at the beginning of his tennis career if he ever thought he’d be coaching tennis, he would have said no.

But after several years of playing, helping his father coach and now coaching a team of his own, Morton has a state championship on his resume.

Morton is the son of former long-time Jemison High School tennis coach Benton Morton.

Reece Morton was in the seventh grade when his dad took over the Jemison program, and he has an appreciation for what it’s like to build a program from the ground up.

Tennis family: Reece Morton’s parents, Benton (left) and Cindy, shared in the excitement over Huntsville’s success.

Tennis family: Reece Morton’s parents, Benton (left) and Cindy, shared in the excitement over Huntsville’s success.

“We were playing high schools that were huge private schools out of Montgomery and other bigger schools,” Morton said. “One of my favorite memories from my time playing at Jemison was when we finally defeated St. James in the section tournament to make it to our first state tournament. St. James and Trinity always got to go to sectionals for that class, and it was a big deal—not just to me, but for the program.”

Morton is grateful that his current school, Huntsville High School, had a program that was already up and running.

Morton is in his second year as head coach of the Huntsville High School boys and girls tennis teams.

In his first year as coach, both the boys and the girls teams were Class 6A regional champs, with the boys ending up in third place in the state and the girls finishing in second.

In his second year, Huntsville High School moved up to Class 7A. Still, Morton helped the boys take second place in the regional championship, and the girls won a state championship, defeating Mountain Brook 61-57 in the title match.

After his high school career, Morton went on to play for Central Alabama Community College, and it is there that he realized he wanted to be a high school coach.

“When my college days were over, I didn’t want to leave the sport,” he said. “I wanted to stay relevant, and I knew the next step was to be a coach.”