Graves County High School’s new head football coach, Morgan Cruce, promises “We are going to play a tough, physical style of football that the community will appreciate and have an offense that fans will enjoy watching on Friday nights.”
The school’s athletic director, Khristain Elliott, introduced him as the football program’s new leader at a news conference at the school Friday afternoon, Jan. 11. The audience that filled most of the performing arts center included media representatives, current players, parents, and other supporters.
“I’d played Graves County when I was in high school” at Obion Central, Cruce explained. “Then, when I got into the college game last year, of course, west Kentucky and west Tennessee were my areas to recruit. So, I was familiar with this area and familiar with the kids. I talked to Ryan Mathis and a few of the other guys who are seniors that are graduating. I know a little bit about what is here at Graves County.”
Cruce has spent most of his career in northwestern Tennessee, including four-year high school stints as defensive coordinator at Union City (2008-12) and as head coach at Gibson County (2012-16). Union City won the Tennessee Class 1A state championship during his tenure. Besides coaching, he has taught math, reading, and language arts.
From May 2016 to January 2018, he was head coach at The Baptist Preparatory School in Little Rock, Ark.
Beginning in January 2018, he worked as an assistant coach at Bethel University in McKenzie, which went undefeated during the regular season for the first time in school history. The team also led the nation in points and yards per game.
“I had the definite privilege to coach under a great man, Brent Dearmon, (at Bethel) and just the way he coaches players and the offensive mind that he has,” Cruce said. “What we’re going to do – our style of play – is translate a lot of the stuff that we did at the college game. Of course, it’s got to be tailored to the high school kids.”
A 2008 graduate of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., Cruce has completed 18 hours of graduate course work at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Cruce and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Evie (age 7), and a son, Manning (age 3). “My family and I are excited to get started on this new adventure at Graves County,” he said. “I know the great tradition Graves County football has had and I look forward to building on that foundation and meeting the coaching staff, the players, parents, community, and alumni.”
Parents of football players is one of the first groups he plans to meet. He’s scheduled a parents meeting with him at the Independence Bank Performing Arts Center, at the corner of Graves High located nearest Ky. Highway 121, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Graves County High School’s new head football coach, Morgan Cruce, addresses a diverse group of players, parents, and other supporters in the Independence Bank Performing Arts Center Friday afternoon, Jan. 11.