Former Batesville football coach Dave King hands the headset to Ryan Morrow

BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) – For the first time in 26 years, Batesville football has a new head coach. Dave King stepped down as Pioneer’s head coach in April. He will pass the headset to Ryan Morrow, who played under him in high school and trained with him for the past four years.

“It’s the kind of call I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Morrow said

Batesville is in Morrow’s blood. There he was born and raised. He was part of the 2003 state championship team that ushered in an era of deep runs in the playoffs over the next decade, including three more state championship appearances and a streak of eight straight years in which he made at least the state semifinals.

“It was a great run,” King said. “But what makes it special at the end of the day is the people.”

Morrow graduated from Batesville in 2006. The tight end played at the collegiate level at Henderson State and then decided to follow in Coach King’s footsteps as a coach.

He was offensive line coach under Danny Brustrom at Cedar Ridge. Then he was part of the football team when Lyon relaunched their football program in 2015.

But there was only one place he saw himself in the long term.

“I told coaches [King] Whenever I was in college, I trained everywhere, but there’s only one place I’ve wanted to train and that was here at home in Batesville,” he said.

After seeing the first graduate of the Lyon soccer class, Morrow became an assistant at Batesville High. When Coach King stepped down after 26 years, Morrow took over the reins.

“He went from my coach to my mentor and to my friend,” Morrow said. “He will always be there for me, I know that. If I call him up and say, “Hey Coach, can you come over and see this?” I know he’ll be there in a minute. I know he has my back 1,000 percent.”

Even though the coach will be different, the identity of Batesville football remains the same.

“The attitude of pioneering football will not change for me, it will be the same as Coach King,” said Morrow. “We will work hard and be first class. There is first class and no class and we will be first class here.”

“I feel good where it is,” King added. “I feel good that Ryan has taken the reins. And again I know he will have the same pride that I have had in this program as a head coach and it has been an honor and a privilege to have been the head coach here for the last 26 years and I hope he has been here for 26 years and has even more success than in 26 years.”

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