Four and a half months after taking the head coaching post of Graves County’s football program, athletic officials confirmed Thursday that Morgan Cruce has stepped down, citing personal reasons.
Eagles defensive coordinator Nick Kemp has been named interim coach for the 2019 season, according to GCHS athletic director Khristain Elliott.
Kemp, who has been the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons under former head coach Lance Gregory and Cruce, said he was informed of Cruce’s decision Thursday and was offered the position.
“I was very enthusiastic and said I would love to take it,” Kemp said. “I love Graves County and I love this program, and we’re excited about moving forward.”
Kemp is in his seventh season at Graves County. He had previously coached the school’s track and field program for three seasons.
A 2003 graduate and former player at Mayfield High School, Kemp is the third head coach from that graduating class, which includes Calloway County’s Chris Champion and Madisonville-North Hopkins’ Jay Burgett.
Cruce was hired in January to take over for Gregory, who had accepted a position at Graves County Middle School. A graduate of Obion County (Tennessee) Central, Cruce had previously been running backs coach at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, as well as a high school coach in Tennessee and Arkansas.
Graves County finished last season 5-6 and runner-up in the 5A First District.
The Eagles will start their 2019 campaign Aug. 23 at Murray High.
Kemp said the preseason schedule will remain in place with workouts, summer practice beginning in mid-July, and 7-on-7 tournaments.
“None of that’s changed,” he added. “We’re just going to keep working as hard as we can and prepare for the season.”