A program rich ins basketball tradition, is no more. Four months after honoring the 1962 men's basketball national finalists, lon morris has dropped its entire athletic department.
Men's and women's hoops, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball track and cross country. football has also been eliminated, just two years after being resurrected.
"We'll try and find them a place to go," said Lon Morris athletic director Dale Dotson. "It probably didn't bother them (student athletes) near as much as it bothered us (coaches)."
It's a disappointing end for Dotson. Dotson was a basketball star for the Bearcats before playing and coaching for the Texas Longhorns. Dotson returned to Lon Morris to be the men's head basketball coach in 1989. In 23 years, he won over 400 games.
"The hardest part is getting an email saying turn your keys in and go," said Dotson. "That's tough too. You've got to do what you've got to do and I understand that.
Lon Morris joins Texarkana College as the second East Texas school to cut its entire athletic department in the last five months.
TJC athletic director Tim Drain can only hope other junior college programs avoid the same fate.
"You're always a little nervous because that's where you look to do the trimming first," said Drain. "With those two schools in particular it's got to put you on notice that we've got to be smart with how we do things over here."
Drain says it's not only a sad day for the Apaches long time rivals. It's a sad day for the Region 14 athletic conference.
"I feel sick for the families and coaches that are trying to figure out where they are going to go next year," said Drain. "That school is tight. No doubt about it that athletic department was tight, so I feel for them."
Coaches without jobs, athletes without a school. More than 300 left looking for a new home.
"They aren't kids, but they are to me," said Dotson. "Now if they want to participate in athletics have to find a new place. We'll help them all we can but there's only so much we can do."
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