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Union Grad Cole Morris Learning the Coaching Ropes at Nationally Ranked DME Academy in Florida

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (EYT/D9) — Cole Morris has always been turned up to an 11.

He’s excitable. Boisterous. He believes he can out-work and out-hustle anyone.

He’s a screamer. He’s demanding. He gives his best and expects those around him to do the same. Always.

That served him well as a standout basketball player at Union High School and then at Penn State DuBois.

But as an assistant basketball coach at DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla., he’s come to realize he has to dial down the volume a few notches from time to time.

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“My personality is go out there, give ‘em everything you got,” Morris said. “I’m trying to get the most out of them … but it’s amazing what you can get out of guys without screaming. Don’t get me wrong, they love how energetic I am, but I needed to balance things out.”

When Morris was hired as an assistant basketball coach at DME Academy — a small, private prep school that has churned out some major Division I basketball talent recently — the biggest thing he learned from director of basketball Matt Panaggio and assistant coach Greg Bearer was coaching subtlety.

“They told me, ‘Just calm down a little bit,’” Morris said, chuckling.

Morris is learning all that he can in Florida. He has some big coaching goals.

As a player, he had big goals, too. At Union, he scored 1,326 career points for the Golden Knights.

At Penn State DuBois, he averaged nine points per game in a career that was cut short because of COVID-19. The pandemic wiped out his senior season.

Morris, though, said he always knew coaching basketball was in his future. When an opportunity arose at DME Academy, he jumped at it.

“I had a phone interview, a Zoom interview and the rest was history,” Morris said. “I’ve been down here ever since. The players here are incredible. We probably have four or five guys that will go Division I next year. That’s pretty impressive.”

Since 2017, DME Academy has had 31 Division I basketball recruits.

DME plays an independent schedule. It takes on top-flight programs from around the country and is currently ranked in the Top 20 nationally.
Morris, 23, is bringing is Western Pennsylvania mentality to the team.

“I was never the most skilled, I would say, but I just worked my tail off,” Morris said. “My main thing was the guy across from me will not outwork me. That’s why I think I succeeded at every level I played. I’m gonna bring that into my coaching career and spread it to my players. All they have to do is outwork the guy in front of them and they’ll be fine.”

Morris’ ultimate goal is to be a head men’s basketball coach at the Division I level.

He’s getting a pretty good jump start on that by coaching at an elite prep school program like DME.

“I love it here,” Morris said. “I love the talent we have and how they get after it. I love the competition. I love that stuff. DME does a great job at sending players and coaches to the next level. I have a really good opportunity here. These guys have connections down here to get me started.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.