Fruita Monument hires Eddie Mort to be softball coach
Hustle and attitude defined Eddie Mort as a fastpitch softball player, and that’s what he plans to impart to the Fruita Monument High Schools girls softball team.
Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny Squibb announced Tuesday the hiring of Mort as the Wildcats coach, and in doing so he said he likes Mort’s experience as a player and coach and the relaxed demeanor and positive approach he brings to coaching.
“I’ve never seen him down. He just enjoys life,” Squibb said. “He’s been around kids, and he’s been around athletics most of his life. I think he’ll be real positive with the kids.”
Mort was an assistant coach for more than a decade at Colorado Mesa University, and he spent the past few years as an assistant coach for the Grand Junction baseball team under Kyle Rush until Rush stepped down after last season.
Rush said Mort is a guy who “always likes where he’s at, no matter where he’s at.”
Mort said he was raised that way. His parents were always positive and supportive of him, so he tries to do the same.
“You can only control two things on the field: your hustle and your attitude,” said Mort, who graduated from Fruita Monument in 1984. “And if you have those, you’re going to be successful.”
Mort coached pitchers at Colorado Mesa, and he has run hitting camps around the country, which he is used to traveling as a fastpitch player. Or, as Rush put it: “He was a guy that got flown around the country to play for other really good teams.
“He was a little leadoff hitter, slappy guy, and he just understands the game of softball.”
Mort admits he’s short, saying, “I’m 5-5 on a good day, if I have my tall shoes on.” He still plays second base and does some pitching at age 46, and he described himself as “one of those guys who always hustled and tried to make a difference.”
Rush said the difference Mort can make as a coach materializes immediately.
“If anyone coaches with him for a day, they want to keep him forever,” Rush said.
Mort, who is a supervisor in the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department, succeeds Jack Thomas as the Wildcats’ coach. Thomas guided the Wildcats to a first-place tie in the Southwestern League at 9-1, a berth in the Class 5A state tournament and a 15-7 overall record.
Thomas was hired last summer when Fruita Monument was left scrambling to find a coach. Jamie Dunn resigned in mid-July to take an assistant coaching job at Colorado Christian University, and the start of high school softball was just a few weeks away in early August.
Thomas said during an interview with The Daily Sentinel last week he knew he was in a one-year arrangement and Fruita would do a more comprehensive search for a coach. He said he reapplied for the job, and he would be OK with whatever the school decided.