Many of the players Guy Morriss will coach this fall had probably never worn a helmet when the football coach was the man in charge at the University of Kentucky.
"I'm moving back to Lexington," said Morriss. "And I wanted to stay involved in high school football here."
Two weeks ago, Morriss, 64, joined Lexington Christian's coaching staff as a special assistant coach with a focus on linemen and special teams.
Morriss said when he first met with Eagles Coach Ethan Atchley they sat down for "what we thought might've been a 15-20 minute conversation (that) turned into three hours.
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"I was impressed with him. Obviously I guess he was interested in me."
Morriss led UK in 2001 and 2002 following a recruiting scandal that dismantled the program under Hal Mumme's watch. Morriss guided the Wildcats to 2-9 and 7-5 seasons before leaving to become the head coach at Baylor, where he went 18-40 over five seasons.
"It's just kind of a chapter we had to go through," said Morriss of leaving Lexington for Waco, Texas. "We just had to do what we had to do. That's the only way to describe it. ... It worked out OK."
The old mantra says "You can't go home again," but Morriss is eager to buck that notion in returning to an area he grew to adore over a decade ago. He kicked off his return to Kentucky last season as an offensive line coach at Warren Central. Bowling Green was nice, he said, but he and wife Jackie needed an eastward move to feel more at ease.
"My wife and I, it didn't feel like home to us," Morriss said. "When I came in '97 with Coach Mumme, we just fell in love with Kentucky. (Lexington) is what we consider our home. We want to retire here."
Atchley was excited to bring Morriss aboard, citing the wide range of things he's experienced over his career as crucial to the team's and the second-year head coach's success.
"I want to surround these guys with as much experience as I can," Atchley said. "You can already tell he's had an impact."
Morriss perceives himself more as an accessory than essential to Lexington Christian's development, but still thinks he'll bring a differing perspective to the staff as "there's more than one way to skin a cat."
The Eagles — whose campus is four miles from Commonwealth Stadium — employ the Air Raid, an offense Morriss helped architect. That familiarity has made the transition easy, he said. Several of the school's current and incoming offensive linemen impress the former Pro Bowl center who spent 15 years in the NFL.
He recognizes that high school football's changed a bit since 1991, when he coordinated the offense at Mansfield in Texas. Morriss told the Herald-Leader's John Clay in 2013 that he was concerned about the current generation's willingness to compete, as well as his own ability to communicate with today's children.
Now, Morriss said, he's got a better handle on what makes them tick.
"It's not that you can't motivate them, you just got to do it in a different way," he said. "The last two or three years I've tried to figure out how to do it and I guess I've found out that it's just not the conventional way from when I was coming up. ... I had to change my thinking and I had to change my approach."
The football lifer who's spent most of his career at the collegiate level wouldn't rule out a return to those ranks but admitted he's tired of the year-round "rat race" the sport has become.
"I like to watch it, but you've got recruiting 24/7, soon as the last whistle blows of the season you're out recruiting and you've gotta get ready for spring training," he said. "Then you've got spring recruiting. Then you've got camps, then you've got your camp to get ready. It's just a rat race and I'm kinda tired of it."
He missed a certain day of the week, too.
"This last fall was the first time I've had a Saturday off in my career."
Now the former UK coach will get to spend many Saturdays in Lexington and on his farm in Perryville. He said he'd like for this to be his last stop.
How has the area treated him since his return? Like he never left home.
"It's good for my ego 'cause I can go into Kroger and about 5 or 6 people stop and say, 'Coach, how doing?' like old times," he said. "That makes me feel good. My family, it makes them feel good to be welcomed back. ...
"... We just fell in love with the state and the people here. We wanted to come back, get in the communities, get active again in the communities, give back to football and make it our home again."