Morrison rose from playing basketball at Wofford College to athletics directorships at his alma mater and Texas Christian University, the commissionership of the Southern Conference and the presidency of the Carolina Panthers. Now he teaches at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.
Of the major influences in his career – among them, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, former Wofford president Dr. Joe Lesesne and Presbyterian College head football coach and athletics director emeritus Cally Gault – Morrison said, “They all have great values, but they all do it their own way. … Leaders get results.”
Richardson, the only National Football League owner who played in the league, saved the $2,000 signing bonus he received in 1959 from the Baltimore Colts and invested, along with Charlie Bradshaw, in the first Hardee’s restaurant. While building Spartan Foods, Richardson cultivated the philosophy he continues to follow with the Panthers.
“Treat the people in the front lines best.”
“They do all the work. Mr. Richardson loves the biscuit makers. If the biscuits aren’t good, nothing else really matters,” Morrison said.
Touchdown Club president Billy Dunlap explained that the local organization flourishes and schedules speakers through the input of its Legends Committee, consisting of former football officials and local legends such as King Dixon of Laurens, Gault of PC and Keith Richardson of Clinton.
The principal purpose of the banquet was honoring members of the all-county team, headed by Player of the Year Mark Wise and Coach of the Year Andrew Webb, both of Clinton High.
Wise played both offense and defense for the Red Devils. As a running back, Wise rushed for 1,308 yards in 192 carries, scoring 13 touchdowns. As a linebacker, he made 67 tackles, eight for losses and forced two fumbles. The other nominees were defensive back Braylen Williams of Laurens District High School and Wil Tindall of Laurens Academy.
“We went out with a bang,” Wise said of his senior season and sharing the backfield with another 1,000-yard rusher and all-county selection, Kris Holmes. “Coach Webb taught us to be better men on and off the field. He made our team into a family and taught us lessons about life.”
He hopes to continue playing in college and has been contacted by Newberry College, Georgia State University and The Citadel, among others.
All-Laurens County Offense: OL – Zach Plaia, Laurens; Kody Varn, Clinton; Jishon Payne, Clinton; Kyler Simmons, Clinton; TE – Dawson Green, Clinton; WR – Wil Tindall, Laurens Academy; Deonte Smith, Laurens; Will Tinsley, Laurens; RB – Troy Dendy, Laurens; Kris Holmes, Clinton; QB – Thomas Lowry, Laurens Academy.
All-Laurens County Defense: DL – Wesley Carlay, Laurens; Jamarcus Cook, Clinton; Darian Bailey, Clinton; Joshua Moore, Laurens Academy; LB – Tyrese Moses, Laurens; Mark Wise, Clinton; Kenny Langston, Laurens Academy; DB – Braylen Williams, Laurens; Tquan Cromer, Clinton; Vilo Boyd, Clinton; Trevor Madden, Laurens.
All-Laurens County Specialists: K – Devon Hubner, Laurens; P – Cade Thompson, Laurens.