Pirates Will Open League Women's Tennis Championships Thursday As No. 11 Seed
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Head Coach Tom Morris Announces 2012-13 Signing Class
Tom Morris, a member of the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and East Carolina's all-time winningest women's tennis coach, is in his 16th season heading the Pirates' program.
During his first seven years at ECU, Morris headed both the men's and women's teams and has now compiled an overall 290-215 record during his long and successful tenure in Greenville.
He has guided the women's program alone to 222 victories and successful seasons in 12 of his 15 years at East Carolina, which recently includes the top six single-season win totals in school history over the last eight campaigns - a 17-9 mark in 2005, back-to-back school-record 19-9 and 19-10 finishes in 2006 and 2007, a 17-6 ledger in 2008, an 18-10 standing in 2010 and an 18-9 clip in 2011.
Morris also led his men's squads to .500 finishes or better in four of the last six years before hiring Shawn Heinchon to take over the Pirates' fortunes in the summer of 2005.
After guiding East Carolina to record-setting 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007, and a 17-victory campaign in 2008, Morris followed an admirable 15-7 rebuilding-year mark in 2009 with 18 triumphs the following two springs that included the program's third and fourth consecutive Conference USA Championship Tournament quarterfinal round appearance.
Morris helped his Lady Pirates match a team-best by racking up 19 victories in 29 matches during the 2007 campaign without the benefit of one senior on his roster before turning in a 17-6 season in 2008 that ended two rounds deep in C-USA's post-season tourney. In addition, ECU raced out to a 10-0 start that spring to earn its first Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national ranking in program history.
In 2006, Morris directed the East Carolina women to a record-breaking 19-9 mark before advancing to the quarterfinals of the league tournament. A year earlier, he guided the Lady Pirates to a then-standard 17-9 ledger and a seventh-place C-USA finish.
During the 2003 season, the Lady Pirates' second year of competition in Conference USA, East Carolina matched a then-school record for most wins in a season by going 16-8. Seeded ninth heading into the league tournament, ECU won three of four matches to finish in a tie for fifth place. The lone loss came to top-seeded Tulane.
Following the 2003 women's tournament, Morris was awarded the Conference USA Sportsmanship Award.
In 2002, the 12th-seeded Lady Pirates defeated Charlotte, stunned second-seeded DePaul before bowing out to South Florida. ECU's women finished the 2002 campaign with a 12-11 record and, including a regular season victory over Charlotte, won three of its five head-to-head meetings with C-USA opponents.
Morris, who will enter the 2014 season with an overall coaching record of 465-317, came to East Carolina from Barton College (formerly Atlantic Christian College), where he directed the tennis program as head coach from 1990 to 1998 after a stellar playing career there.
In Morris' tenure at Barton, he guided his men's teams to six conference championships while his women's squads won four league titles. He was named Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year four times and earned NAIA District 26 Coach-of-the-Year honors once. Following the 1997 season, Morris was tabbed as the NCAA Men's East Regional Coach of the Year, making him one of four finalists for the NCAA Division II National Coach-of-the-Year award.
At Barton, Morris coached eight All-America selections and eight conference players-of-the-year.
As an undergraduate, Morris was Atlantic Christian's flight one singles player in each of his four years and earned All-America recognition twice. As a senior in 1979, he helped Atlantic Christian reach the NAIA National Championship. He advanced to the singles round of 32 his freshman year, the semifinals as a sophomore, the round of 16 as a junior, and the quarterfinals as a senior. His 105 career singles victories still rank as the Barton school record. In addition, he compiled a career mark of 17-4 in singles at the national tournament.
His outstanding playing and coaching accomplishments at Barton, and his leadership to the East Carolina program, rightfully earned Morris a place in the North Carolina Tennis Hall-of Fame with his induction on Jan. 30, 2010 in Pinehurst, N.C.
Morris' wife, Carol, is a former standout tennis player at the University of South Carolina and had several top 10 wins while playing on the women's professional tour. The couple has three children--daughter Chris (21) and sons Jack (19) and Al (15).