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Morrison adds veterans to staff
, Courier Sportswriter
Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:00 AM
Two former Madison High School football coaches are returning to the sidelines to help out new head coach Patric Morrison this season.
Al Wilcox and Steve Fish were both officially approved as assistant coaches by the Madison Board of School Trustees on Wednesday. The pair will serve as coordinators on Morrison's first staff.
Wilcox coached Madison from 1991-99 with a record of 32-54 while Fish, who was not retained last year after his teaching license expired, went 3-27 in three seasons.
Morrison, who graduated from both Madison Consolidated High School and Hanover College, has played and coached under both Wilcox and Fish and is excited to have them on his staff.
"We've added two former head football coaches at Madison and that's a lot of experience for me to lean on," Morrison said. "Both will have their say on their side of the ball and I'll oversee the whole program. Of course with their experience, I'm not sure there will be a lot they'll say that I'll argue with."
Wilcox has coached boys golf at Madison and served as an assistant football coach at Hanover since he left the Cub sideline. He will be the offensive coordinator under Morrison.
Fish was a long-time assistant coach at Hanover before getting the Madison head job in 2010. He will be the defensive coordinator.
Although Fish is no longer the head coach, Morrison was thrilled to be able to get the veteran to come back, not only professionally, but personally as well.
"Steve coached the defense last year and they really made strides by the end of the season. It's nice to keep that continuity," Morrison said. "Plus, I grew up around Steve and have played for him. He's really like a second father to me."
Wilcox and Fish are not the only experienced coaches Morrison is bringing on board. Scott Holcroft, who was Wilcox's offensive coordinator, is returning and will assist on offense while Ron Wells and Michael Norris will oversee wide receivers.
Mike Henthorne, a long-time coach in the Madison system, will head linebackers while Jordan Fish, Steve's son and another former Madison player, returns to help with defensive backs. Shannon Gatke, another former Madison assistant, and Chris Grossen will also help on defense.
Morrison has one more position to fill, running backs coach, and hopes to have that candidate approved at next month's board meeting.
"What I like is that I have four guys who have head coaching experience on the staff," Morrison said. "Al Wilcox and Steve Fish as football coaches, but Scott Holcroft has been coaching boys track & field and Mike Henthorne has coached a little of everything."
Along with assistant coaches, Madison also hired a special football "consultant" for the 2013 season.
Indiana Football Hall-of-Famer John Fallis, a former longtime coach at Greencastle High School among other places, will visit Madison next month to perform an assessment of the football program and meet with coaches.
Fallis won 195 games in a coaching career that dates back to 1972. Madison has just 141 wins as a program since 1960.
"He will be a mentor to me and give me somebody that I can talk to and lean on," Morrison said of Fallis. "Part of the deal when I was hired was that a consultant would be hired as well to look at the program and see what we can do to improve it. The new superintendent (Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger) really wants the program to succeed and she wanted to take this step."
The contract runs through the end of the season and Fallis will be on hand for several practices and games. He will also make an assessment of the school's football facilities.
Madison will have a series of six minicamps for incoming players starting on Tuesday. There will also be a youth camp on July 29-30 from 6:30-8 p.m. daily. The cost is $25 and is open for students grades first through eighth. Registration will be on the first day of the camp.
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