Dana Morton enjoys great run as Bloomfield HS girls’ basketball head coach

Photo by Jerry Simon.
Dana Morton, shown talking with her players during the 2016-17 season, directed the Bengals to winning seasons in her first four seasons.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Dana Morton will always take pride in being both an alumna and a coach for Bloomfield High School.

After a successful five-season run, Morton has stepped down as the BHS head girls’ varsity basketball coach.

Morton, who decided to step down in order to accept a position as a Recreation Leader at the Bloomfield Recreation Center, produced winning seasons in her first four seasons. Overall, the Bengals boasted a combined 77-43 record under Morton.

In 2013-14, her first season at the helm, the Bengals went 15-10. They then finished 17-8, 18-5 and 19-5 in the next three seasons before enduring an 8-15 season this past winter.

BHS athletic director Steve Jenkins was grateful for Morton’s dedication.

In a statement, Jenkins said, “We are saddened to see her leave us, but happy she has secured the position she sought. Dana was an outstanding basketball player at BHS and is in the elite group that scored 1,000 points and coached a 1,000-point scorer (2017 BHS graduate Grace Cannon). She always represented her team and our school with dignity and class. She will be missed.”

Morton, a 1988 BHS graduate, will always cherish her experience in directing the girls’ basketball program.

“I am a Bengal, through and through,” she said. “My time at BHS has been amazing. It’s the only place that I would have ever coached. I am forever grateful for Steve Jenkins believing in me enough to give me the opportunity to coach  these great bunch of student-athletes. They are not only my student-athletes, they are my family. It takes a village to raise a child, and all that I could ever hope is that I made a difference in their lives, like my coaches did for me. Isn’t that what it’s really about? Not the wins and losses, but as I say to them all the time, ‘Life beyond basketball.’

“As coaches, our responsibility does not only go as far as what happens on the court, but what translates to life after basketball. We have to prepare them for the world.”

Zac Dearwater, Morton’s longtime assistant coach and the JV coach, has been named the new BHS head girls’ basketball coach.

Morton and Jenkins are confident the program will continue to thrive.

Jenkins stated: “Having Zac Dearwater here to step in certainly eases the transition. Zac has done a fine job with the JV level and has proven he is deserving of the opportunity to lead our program. Although (this) his first head coaching assignment, he has ably assisted in a number of sports for over 10 years. I am confident he will be an asset to the program.”

Morton added: “I had a great staff working with me, as well as volunteers, and I am confident that the tradition will continue on. As they say, ‘Tradition never graduates. Once a Bengal, always a Bengal.’”

The BHS boys’ basketball program also is going through a coaching change. This past summer, Pat Brunner stepped down as the Bengals boys’ head coach after a successful 13-year run and has been replaced by his longtime assistant coach, Mike Passero.