• Devon Mayse

Hall of Famer Morrison racked up 21 championships

If you have ever had time to look around The Cutler Event Center, you have probably noticed the Gary Morrison Coaches Corridor. While most of the time visitors just walk through on their way to their coach’s office, the gym, or weight room, most have noticed the plaque to the left of the entryway dedicated to Coach Mo.

So, who is Coach Mo?

Coach Gary Morrison is known for numerous achievements at Olivet College. Hired by Olivet in 1967, Morrison started coaching men’s basketball, cross country and tennis, as well as instructing in the physical education department. Before he retired from Olivet in 2010, Morrison served as a professor of General Education/General Studies, the men’s basketball coach from 1967-1997, tennis coach from 1967- 1968, cross country coach from 1967- 1970, men’s golf coach from 1974-2010, and the baseball coach from 1971-86.

Over his career, Morrison won 21 MIAA Conference Championships, coached men’s golf teams at eight NCAA National Championship appearances, as well as coached six NCAA All-Americans, and nine Scholar All-Americans.

With a career like that, it’s no surprise that visitors in the Olivet College Archives often ask about Coach Mo and find themselves fascinated with the career of the Olivet College Athletics Hall of Famer. With the attention Morrison rightfully receives from the Olivet, MIAA, and state communities, an interview was set up, and this is what Morrison had to say in regards to his career and time at Olivet.

Q: Several sources in the Olivet College Archives state that you are an alumnus of Kalamazoo College, where you were a three-sport athlete, in basketball, baseball, and track. What else would you include in your background in sports before coming to Olivet College?

A: I played professional baseball for a year or two in lower classifications, primarily with a farm team of the Detroit Tigers. I left Kalamazoo College as the all-time leading scorer in basketball. I was an All MIAA selection three times in basketball and two times in baseball at Kalamazoo. I am a member of my high school hall of fame, the Kalamazoo College Hall of Fame, the Olivet College Hall of Fame, and the City of Battle Creek Wall of Fame. And I am the winningest coach in Olivet College history, along with being the winningest golf coach in MIAA history. I am proud of all those achievements, but I needed help from many people along the way to make them happen.

Q: Your coaching career is always eye-catching to visitors of the Olivet College Archives. What made you decide to go into coaching?

A: I like getting up in the morning excited about what I have to do that day. I loved playing most sports. So, against the advice of my dad, who was a coach at the time, I decided that is what I wanted to do. And I have never regretted my choice. At the college level I really enjoyed coaching real student athletes that simply loved to compete and who graduated in four years.

Q: During your tenure at Olivet you coached with several other successful coaches. Specifically, you taught and coached alongside anothe