The Chiles boys lacrosse team showed support for coach Ken Morton at their first game of the season on Monday, February 17. Morton was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has continued to lead the team as head coach.
The team wore bracelets in support of Morton. Chiles Athletic Director Mike Eto said the idea of the bracelets came from the players and their parents at a dinner ahead of the first game.
“One of the players came out, and they had these bracelets made, and everybody on the team was going to wear them in honor of Coach Morton,” Eto said. “It was pretty awesome.”
Morton has been coaching at Chiles for three years, and this is his first year as head coach.
Before coaching, Morton worked in law enforcement as a police officer at the University of Miami and an Emergency Preparedness Manager at Baptist Health South Florida.
He also worked for 29 years as a police lieutenant with the Miami-Dade Police Department, where he was an operations commander and worked in areas like the special response team.
In college, Morton played midfield on the SUNY Geneseo lacrosse team, and his team won two ECAC championships.
Eto said Morton wants to continue to coach the Chiles lacrosse team for as long as he can.
“We had talked about his health and what we wanted to do, and Coach Morton said that this position right now, his coaching, is what’s saving his life,” he said. “We’ll keep him for as long as we can have him.”
Eto said Morton’s fight with cancer is motivating the team to play their best.
“Everybody’s sad that it’s happening to him, but it’s become really a focal point of the team,” he said. “It’s really driving them to honor him and to do better for him and play hard for him.”
“He cares about the team and his players,” he said. “There’s not a lot of coaches like that. They usually care more about the winning and all that other stuff, but Coach Morton cares about those boys.”