Since taking over as the second head coach of Samford women’s basketball in 2002, Mike Morris has taken the program to new heights.
Over the last 10 years, the Bulldogs have posted seven of the top-eight win totals in school history, including the program’s only six 20-win seasons.
Morris guided the program to back-to-back Southern Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012. The team reached a national postseason tournament for the three years in a row, including a WNIT appearance in 2010.
The 2010-11 Bulldogs set a school record for wins with a 25-8 record, winning the SoCon Tournament and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Despite losing two of the top players in program history, the 2011-12 team won 20 games again, and won its second-straight SoCon title and NCAA Tournament berth.
The 2009–10 team reached the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time and earned the program’s first-ever national postseason appearance. The team also earned its first national postseason win with a 66-65 win over Ole Miss in the first round of the WNIT at the Pete Hanna Center.
The 2009-10 team also tied the then-school record for wins with a 23-11 overall record and a 14-6 mark in SoCon play.
In 2008–09, the Bulldogs set a school record for conference wins with a 16-4 league record in their first year in the SoCon. The team finished with an overall record of 22-7, reaching the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament.
After the season, Morris was named the 2009 SoCon Coach of the Year. The award marked the second Coach of the Year award for Morris, as he was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2006.
The 2007–08 Bulldogs set a then-school record for most wins in a season, posting a 23-9 overall record and a 15-5 record in the OVC. The Bulldogs also posted their first-ever wins over Southeastern Conference (Alabama) and Big 12 (Missouri) opponents, and reached the semifinals of the OVC Tournament for a third year in a row.
The 2006–07 season was another winning one with a record of 18-13 and another trip to the OVC semifinals.
In the 2005–06 season, Samford posted its first 20-win season, finishing with a 21-8 overall record, and the Bulldogs were 15-5 in OVC play. For the first time since joining the league in 2003, the team reached the semifinals of the OVC Tournament.
Morris has increased the team’s win total in seven of his 12 seasons as head coach. In his first season (2002–03), the team won seven games, up from three the previous season. In his second season (2003–04), the Bulldogs posted 10 wins, only the second time in school history that the team managed double-digit wins. The 2004–05 squad won 13 games, and the 2005–06 team won 21 games. In 2007–08, the Bulldogs won a then-record 23 games, up from 18 in 2006–07. The 2009-10 team also won 23 games and the 2010-11 team won a school-record 25 contests.
Morris is in his 21st season overall at Samford, spending eight seasons as an assistant coach on the men’s staff. While working with the men’s team, Morris served as the team’s top recruiter and directed Samford’s summer basketball camps. He was on the bench for both Samford Atlantic Sun Championship seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances.
Before his arrival at Samford in 1994, Morris served for three years as an assistant coach under veteran coach Lenny Acuff at Belhaven College. He coached at Belhaven for two seasons before joining Acuff’s staff in 1993 at Berry College in Rome, Ga. In his first year at Belhaven, the Blazers finished with the most wins in nine years, compiling a 17-16 record. The next year, Belhaven went 18-15 and hosted the first round of the NAIA District Playoffs for the first time in 20 years.
Morris played basketball for two seasons at the University of Alabama in Huntsville [UAH], where he was chosen team captain and team MVP his senior season. While at UAH, Morris was the NCAA Division II national champion in free-throw percentage, making 92.1 percent from the line. He played his first two seasons at Jefferson State Junior College in Birmingham.
The Holly Pond, Ala., native earned a B.A. in psychology from Belhaven College in 1992. He has completed 24 hours toward his master’s degree in administration from Jacksonville State.
Morris is married to the former Melanie Nix of Huntsville, Ala. They have a son, Peyton, 22, and a daughter, Paige, 19.