Softball: Burlington Central hires Wasco Diamonds’ Bill Morrow as new coach

Morrow previously served as volunteer assistant with Rockets from 2010 to 2013

Bill Morrow, Burlington Central

Bill Morrow served as a volunteer assistant at Burlington Central from 2010 to 2013 and had two daughters play at the school.

His oldest daughter, Abby, was on the 2009 Rockets team that went to the Class 3A state tournament and earned the best finish in program history.

When Central had an opening for a coach after the resignation of Lauren King this past summer, Abby was one of the first people nudging Morrow to go for it.

Morrow took his daughter’s advice and officially was named Central’s coach earlier this month. Morrow becomes the school’s third softball coach in four years.

“The program for a long time was very successful in the state of Illinois,” said Morrow, whose youngest daughter, Angela, played at Central and Kaneland, earning Kaneland’s first state trophy in 2015. “And I think that I can help it get back to that.”

Bill Morrow poses with his daughter Angela after winning a Class 3A regional championship with Burlington Central in 2012. Murrow, who previously served as a volunteer assistant with the Rockets, was named Central's coach earlier this month.

Central went 9-22 last season and finished last in the 10-team Fox Valley Conference. The Rockets last won a regional eight years ago. During the program’s best stretch from 2005 to 2009, they averaged 31 wins a season.

Morrow hopes to return the Rockets to prominence in the area. He brings a lot of experience as president of the Wasco Diamonds, one of the state’s most successful travel programs.

Last year was Morrow’s final year coaching travel as he looked to spend more time with family, including his two grandchildren.

Although the year-round grind of coaching travel no longer appealed to Morrow, the itch to coach was still there.

“Honestly, I just love coaching,” Morrow said. “I love softball and the game itself. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some really good coaches, and I’ve become really good friends with a lot of those coaches. I hope every girl at every practice walks away learning something new because there are many times where I walk away and learn something, too.

“I hope that I’m able to help these girls and help the school connect to a program that they can be proud of.”

Central athletic director Ted Juske hopes Morrow brings some stability to a program that hasn’t had any in recent years. Juske was a softball coach at Johnsburg from 2015 to 2017 and also competed against some of Morrow’s teams in travel, so he was familiar with Morrow’s body of work.

“Anytime somebody new is coming in, you’d obviously like to find someone who’s got the track record and history like Bill,” Juske said. “I know he’s very well known around the area with his experience and the resume behind him. He’s someone who’s been there and done that. He knows the game and he knows how to teach it.

“We’re always building a culture, but we’re also trying to bring stability so we can continue to build it in the right direction.”

“I hope that I’m able to help these girls and help the school connect to a program that they can be proud of.”

—  Bill Morrow, Burlington Central softball coach

Morrow said he will approach his first season with a fresh outlook. He did not want to know which players were on varsity last season, so he can better evaluate the program’s level of talent for the short term and long term success of the program.

Defense will be a big point of emphasis.

“I believe in defense,” Morrow said. “Today, the way hitters are, almost every kid out there that plays upper-level or even medium-level softball outside of high school has their own hitting coaches. Pitchers can do everything they can to strike people out, but the reality is, in today’s game, the strikeouts only come to the girls throwing 65 plus.

“If a pitcher pitches well enough to get balls on the ground or in the air, they should be caught. That’s the biggest problem I see with a lot of different coaching styles and players today. They worry more about the hardest thing to do in sports than they do about the defensive side.”

Juske felt strongly that Morrow was the best hire to help turn the Rockets around.

“Certainly running the Wasco Diamonds, he knows the importance of building a program top to bottom,” Juske said. “We’re lucky to have him on board.”