Madison-Plains naming baseball field after Denny Morris

The late Denny Morris was a long-time coach and teacher at Madison-Plains. On May 4, the district’s baseball program will hold a ceremony to name the high school baseball field after him.

(Posted April 24, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison-Plains baseball program is honoring the late Denny Morris, a longtime coach and teacher, by naming the high school baseball field after him.

A naming ceremony is set for May 4 during the Denny Morris Classic. The day will start at 9 a.m. with Madison-Plains playing Westfall. The ceremony will take place at the end of that game, likely sometime between 11 and 11:30. Then, Madison-Plains will play Madison Christian, followed by Madison Christian playing Westfall.

For years, Madison-Plains has played Westfall the first weekend of May. The tradition and friendly rivalry comes with remembrance of Morris who coached at both schools during his career and, after retirement, supported Westfall while his son, Joe, was a player there.

Travis Rinehart, second-year head baseball coach at Madison-Plains, said it only made sense to schedule the field naming for the same weekend this year. He organized it as a triple-header to make the day extra special.

“Denny Morris was a big part of Madison-Plains and the development of the baseball program, as well as a model person that gave so much to his community and school. Him being a part of this great school and honoring him for not only his accomplishments but for the person he was and what he meant to so many is the best thing this school can do,” Rinehart wrote in a letter to district leaders, asking for their support for naming the field after Morris.

The school board unanimously approved the request at their April 16 meeting.

“Denny’s a guy I had the privilege of knowing. He definitely made an impact as an employee here and, obviously, as a coach,” said Mark Mason, board president.

Morris grew up in Mount Sterling and graduated from The Plains High School in 1965. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degrees in education and educational administration.

Whether as a player, coach, or fan, Morris enjoyed the game of baseball throughout his life. While still in high school, he started coaching summer youth league baseball. He kept that up while in college, also serving as an assistant coach at Westfall for one season, a coach at The Plains for several seasons, and a graduate assistant coach at Miami University for a season.

Morris became head baseball coach at Madison-Plains in 1974, a position he kept for the next 20 years. He also served as an athletic director, teacher, and administrator during his time at Madison-Plains, retiring in 1994.

Outside of coaching and education, Morris served as president of the Mount Sterling High School Alumni Association, president and longtime member of the Mount Sterling Library Board, director of the Mount Sterling Community Museum, member of the Westfall Board of Education, and secretary of the Monroe Township Zoning Appeals Board. He passed away in 2012.

Kathy Morris, Denny’s wife, said she was totally and pleasantly surprised to hear that the baseball field at Madison-Plains will be named after her husband.

“I consider it a great honor,” she said.

Several Madison-Plains alumni who played under Morris have expressed plans to attend the naming ceremony which is open to the public.

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