High school football: Successful, respected former Morgan Park coach Lexie Spurlock dies at 76

When Roy Curry was coaching football at Robeson, he would sometimes let an assistant run practice when he went to scout future opponents.

The assistant was Lexie Spurlock.

“I would always leave and I knew the team was in good hands,” Curry said Monday.

Spurlock later took over as head coach at Morgan Park, and that program was in good hands as well.

One of the most successful and most respected football coaches in Public League history, Spurlock died on Friday. He was 76.

Over a 16-year span from 1995 to 2010, Spurlock guided the Mustangs to 12 IHSA playoff berths and a 137-59 record. They reached the Class 7A semifinals in 2004, and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2003, ’06 and ’07. Morgan Park also won the 2007 Prep Bowl.

“He was a great disciplinarian and a hard worker,” Curry said. “When he took over Morgan Park, everything elevated. I thought maybe two of those teams should have gone downstate.”

Mickey Pruitt, who went on to play for the Bears and Cowboys and now is Deputy Director of Sports Administration for Chicago Public Schools, was coached by Spurlock in track and football at Robeson. They also were fraternity brothers.

“He was fun to be coached by,” Pruitt said. “He had a good, good spirit with him. … A coach that people really liked.”

Current Morgan Park coach and alum Chris James talked about Spurlock after the Mustangs’ IHSA playoff win over Fenwick on Saturday.

“We were expecting it, but when it happened it was still hard,” James said. “It was tough on me [Friday] and [Saturday]. It wasn’t about football, it was everything he did for us and how close we felt to him.”

James said Spurlock was following this year’s Morgan Park team, which is 9-1 and among the Class 5A favorites.

“I would text him after games and we talked a lot,” James said.

“I just wanted to make him proud. He always told me I didn’t have to make him proud, just do things the Morgan Park way. That has always been my entire mission, to get back to where he had us as a program.”

That was at the top of the Public League pecking order.

“There was a time where he was the top coach in the city and he had the top teams in the city,” Curry said.

“We were really close to winning a state championship,” James said. “So I want to bring that to the school but I also wanted to do the things that he did as far as building men.

“That was his thing. And it wasn’t a democracy, it was a dictatorship.”

Contributing: Michael O’Brien

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