BREWER, Maine — Dave Morris had a busy American Legion baseball schedule over the summer.
His primary job was as head coach of the Brewer Falcons, guiding them to the Zone 1 regular-season title and a 19-4 overall record.
But on many nights, once that team was done playing or practicing, Morris headed back across the Penobscot River to watch his son Dillon play as a first-year catcher for the Bangor American Legion team.
Next summer, the elder Morris won’t be drawn in both directions, as he has stepped down as the Falcons’ coach after 10 years.
“Most of the decision was just a situation where my son Dillon is starting to play, and you only get to be around to watch your son play one time,” said Morris, “Having three girls active in sports and Dillon playing … you only have so many years with your kids.”
Morris, a Bangor High School graduate who still lives in the city, plans to join Fred Lower’s Bangor American Legion coaching staff next summer, but will also remain as the boys varsity baseball coach at Brewer High School, which he led to the Eastern Maine Class A championship last spring.
“I first thought I might give up both,” said Morris, who has coached the Brewer High team for the last 11 years. “I’ll be honest, right now it’s year-to-year for me. I’ll coach next year, then take a look at it again after the season.”
Morris said that decision may be based on his son’s progress at Bangor High School, where Dillon Morris played catcher and second base for the junior varsity as a freshman last spring, as well as who takes over Brewer’s American Legion program.
A lot of it depends on who gets the Legion job, and whether that person might be a candidate to take over the high school post at some point,” said Morris. “If they get someone who can take on the high school program, too, I’d definitely be willing to hand that job over and give him the chance to reap what I’ve been reaping.
“But at the same time I don’t want to abandon everybody, because I’ve had a great experience coaching in Brewer. There have been no issues with parents or kids, this is really just a personal decision, I want to be closer to my family and what they’re doing.”
Under Morris’ guidance the Brewer American Legion program has been a consistent contender in the Zone 1 ranks.
This summer the Falcons went 18-2 during the regular season before being ousted in the zone tournament. That followed three straight appearances in the state American Legion tournament, highlighted by a runnerup finish in 2006.
Brewer’s Legion team will return 12 of its 18 players from this year’s team next summer.
“The situation is good to leave now when there’s a good nucleus of players coming back,” said Morris. “We’ve got 12 kids coming back, and they are 12 kids who all have played a lot and all have good experience.
Morris said he will miss coaching the Falcons, but looks forward to the opportunity to follow his own children’s athletic careers a little closer.
“It was a tough decision, but a good one,” said Morris. I’ve been blessed to have the chance to coach both high school and Legion baseball in Brewer. I have to say I’ve never had a bad day coaching baseball in Brewer.”