Jacksonville High announces three coaching moves

·4 min read

Jul. 26—JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville High School announced new head coaches for three varsity sports Tuesday, with Tres Buzan moving from girls' to boys' basketball, Corey Mize taking over girls' basketball and Jessica Oliver taking over softball.

Jacksonville principal Russ Waits announced the moves Tuesday.

"Jacksonville City Schools is extremely proud of all its athletic programs and looks forward to their continued success and growth," a Jacksonville City Schools release said.

The moves come less than 24 hours after boys' basketball coach Shane Morrow confirmed that he was relieved of his coaching duties in basketball and football, where he served as defensive coordinator.

Morrow declined to comment further.

He coached Jacksonville to its first-ever state championship in boys' basketball in March.

Jacksonville's football team starts practice Aug. 1. Jacksonville head football coach Clint Smith said Marcus Albright will return as defensive coordinator, a role he played on Smith's Jacksonville staff from 2012-19. Albright followed Smith from Saks to Jacksonville in 2012.

Jacksonville athletics director David Clark, who also serves as the school's long-time head volleyball coach, said the basketball and football decisions were not connected.

"All of the decisions that we make are in the best interests of Jacksonville High School and our students," said David Clark, Jacksonville's athletics director and head volleyball coach. "I will say this, Shane did nothing illegal or immoral, and it had nothing to do with money.

"I want to make sure everybody knows that."

Morrow will continue in his teaching role.

He was promoted to head coach in boys' basketball after Cordell Hunt moved into administration for the 2021-22 school year. With a strong returning corps, led by junior John Broom, and center Cade Phillips, who transferred in from Westbrook Christian, Morrow coached the Golden Eagles to area, regional and state titles.

Phillips announced in June that he will transfer to Link Academy, in Branson, Mo.

Former head softball coach Amber Russell will also continue in her teaching role and as assistant varsity volleyball coach and head junior-varsity volleyball coach. The 2020 Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County coach of the year stepped down from her softball role in May, after the season.

"I wanted to spend more time with my daughters and family," she said.

As for the new hires, Buzan took over the girls' program in 2015. This after Anthony Kingston resigned and Ryan Chambless moved from coaching the girls to the boys.

Buzan had previously coached the boys' freshman team. He was a finalist for the boys' varsity job a year ago, when Morrow was hired.

Buzan graduated from Jacksonville in 2007 and Jacksonville State University in 2012. He previously served as a volunteer coach in football and basketball at Weaver High while attending JSU.

Coaching Jacksonville's girls, Buzan enjoyed six winning seasons in seven seasons overall. The 2021-22 Golden Eagles were inexperienced.

With the boys, he'll take over a team that lost standouts Phillips, guard Julian Hill and Quintavius Long, but returns a talented core of John Broom, Caden and Camren Johnson and Devin Barksdale.

"This was the most talented team I've ever seen, whether I was in school at Jacksonville or coaching," Buzan said. "We lost some of that but are bringing back just some really talented guys and a really good core group. It'll be fun to watching them adjust from last year to this year and see what they can do."

Buzan said he will "do a lot of the same" things with Jacksonville's team that Morrow did. "They really played a higher level of defense last year, and we're going to keep building on that and make it our calling card in how we defend the ball in the full court and the half court.

"Offensively, just a ton of talent, so just get our guys who can score the ball in good spots and just let them play."

Mize graduated from Alexandria in 2011 and JSU in 2017. He moved up the coaching ranks with Jacksonville's boys' basketball program, coaching seventh and eighth grade then freshmen. He won a county championship with the freshman team.

He was head junior-varsity coach the past two years and a varsity assistant this past season.

Wife Chelsea coaches volleyball at Weaver and was 2021 All-Calhoun County coach of the year in soccer, stepping down from coaching soccer in May.

"I'm really excited for the opportunity," Corey Mize said. "I got to watch the girls last season, and I'm excited to see what I can do with them, just piggyback off of Buzan's season."

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.