Cullman High School's Lady Bearcat softball team has a new coach. Lawayne Morton will take over this season. (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)
CULLMAN – Cullman High School announced the hiring of Lawayne Morton as its new head softball coach earlier this week. Morton replaces Meagan Cagle, who served as head coach last season.
Morton has coached at multiple levels ranging from travel ball to college (Wallace State) and currently owns and operates Hidden Lake Fastpitch Academy where he gives personal hitting and pitching lessons.
Morton started his coaching career in baseball, but once his daughter started playing softball as a child, he knew the sport he wanted coach.
“When I started out, I wanted to be a head baseball coach in high school and work my way into college as a baseball coach. My daughter was 7 years old and I was coaching baseball at Priceville High School and I came in one day to watch her practice and I saw some things that were not being taught correctly, some things that were being taught the wrong way,” Morton said. “I decided then that I was going to put my career on hold and I was going to teach these young girls how to play. I wasn’t going to put myself in front of my kids, and my life changed from that point forward.”
Morton continued, “I went and found an elementary job so that I could coach my daughter in travel ball and work with all these other kids around here. So, I started out at Wallace and now I’ve been in travel ball for the last 12 years. I’ve always, in the back of my mind, wanted to coach high school again and I’ve had opportunities to coach softball at other places, but I didn’t want to. I’ve kind of been holding out and hoping that this job would come along, and it did.”
Morton is excited for that first day of practice. He said his main goal as head coach is to help develop high-character young athletes.
“I would say what I’m looking forward to most is building young ladies of strong character through our softball program. I look forward to that,” Morton said. “I also want to present a challenge to them. Becoming the best you can be is a challenge, and I’ve got to get them to accept those challenges and dedicate themselves to the process. That’s going to be the first step in becoming an elite softball player.”
Morton already knows several of the players on the roster and the program itself, making him more familiar with the team than most incoming coaches; he’s excited to take advantage of the head start.
“I’ve always helped in the background. I’ve given private hitting and pitching lessons with girls in the program over the years and have been working with several of them on the team right now, so I know a lot of the girls on the team,” Morton said. “We’ve got talent there, we just have to enhance that and take it to another level, and we will.”
The 2019 season is still months away, but Morton has plans for preparing his team on and off the field year-round.
“It’s going to start in the locker room. I want them to bond as a team. We’re going to set goals early as individuals, we’re going to set team goals, but everything is a priority for me,” Morton said. “All the way from the locker room, to the practices and to the games. It all matters to me. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to help revitalize the energy in this program and get everybody enthusiastic about it.”
Morton’s daughter, Hannah Morton, was stand out in the Lady ‘Cats program. She graduated from Cullman in 2017 and earned a spot on the 6A All-State First Team after a big senior season.
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