LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former University of Kentucky Football Coach Guy Morriss has passed away at the age of 71, confirmed by UK. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2017.
Morriss came to Lexington to be the offensive line coach for Hal Mumme at UK in 1997. The two had previously worked together in the same roles at Valdosta State. After a recruiting scandal forced the resignation of Mumme, Morriss was named the interim coach. He led the Wildcats to a 2-9 record in 2001. He would then get things turned around the next season as the Wildcats were 7-5 with a near upset of LSU.
"He was one of those guys that would sit on the front porch and talk about anything but football," said Dennis Johnson, who played for Morriss back in 2001. He's now the head coach at Woodford County High School. "He was just a good dude."
Morriss would then leave Kentucky for his home-state of Texas to lead Baylor for five seasons before finishing up as head coach at Texas A&M Commerce. He would return to Lexington with his wife Jackie and helped coach at Lexington Christian Academy before stepping away from football.
"Football didn't define who he was or anything like that," said Johnson. "He wasn't defined by 15 years in the NFL or being the coach at Kentucky or at Baylor. He was defined as a good person, a good father figure to his kids and just a good, down-to-Earth man."
"When you consider the mess that was happening with everything going on when he took over, I thought he did a really good job," said former LEX 18 Sports Director Alan Cutler. "He couldn't stand leaving Kentucky. If he had his druthers, there's no doubt he never would've left here."
Before his coaching career, the Colorado City, Texas native played at TCU as an offensive lineman from 1969-'72. Morriss was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2nd round (28th overall pick) of the 1973 NFL Draft. He spent 15 seasons in the league and played over 200 regular season games with the Eagles and New England Patriots. He started for the Eagles in Super Bowl XV in the Louisiana Superdome. The Oakland Raiders beat Philadelphia 27-10.
Funeral services are still pending for Morriss.