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CHS grad expresses interest in girls coaching vacancy
Shawna Nunes retired as head coach of Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball program on Feb. 17 after a successful 18-year stint.

Nunes' successor should be former Bulldog star Vanessa Morris.

Morris, a 1996 graduate, played for Shawna for three seasons.

"I'm sure I'll apply for it," she said. "I've always wanted to coach. I'm missing that competitive bug. My desire is to give back to my community."

Morris would welcome the challenge of trying to continue Ceres High's winning tradition. Nunes guided the Bulldogs to a 365-142 overall record, one section championship, six league titles and 20 wins 10 times.

"It's hard to take over for a legend in anything," Morris said. "It would be a great opportunity if it happened. It would mean a lot to me to come back to my alma mater to coach."

Morris had a spectacular four-year varsity career with the Bulldogs. She averaged 28.9 points per game while leading Ceres High to a 31-1 overall record, undefeated Central California Conference campaign (16-0) and Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II semifinal playoff appearance as a senior.

She earned a basketball scholarship to Oregon State and finished her playing career at Cal State Stanislaus.

"Shawna and (former varsity girls basketball assistant coach) Phil de la Porte always made sure we were prepared and motivated each player differently," Morris said. "They made every player feel important. You did what was right for the team or didn't play."

Vanessa was an assistant on Nunes' coaching staff for two seasons (2008-10). She's also helped run the Bulldogs' summer hoops camp the past 14 years.

"I've been around Ceres High basketball my whole life," she said. "The basketball court brings peace to me."

Morris would be the perfect replacement for Nunes. Ceres High plans to fill the coaching vacancy this spring.

"I think Vanessa would do very well," said de la Porte, who also supported the hiring of Nunes in 1993-94. "She has the background for it. The couple of years she worked with us, we really enjoyed it."