The last time Coastal Carolina fans saw pitcher Mike Morrison, he was storming the mound at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha celebrating a national championship for the Chanticleers in 2016.
Many Chanticleer fans will recall his Game 2 performance in the College World Series where he went 6.2 innings, tossing 10 strikeouts and helping keep the championship dream alive in what was an elimination game for the Chants.
Since that miracle run in 2016, Morrison played three years in the minors before he was released. It was after his release that he returned to his alma mater and joined the staff as a graduate assistant for the team.
“It feels so good to be back,” Morrison said. “I love this place and to be back with my old coaching staff again feels amazing. I am picking their brains as much I can. I’ve already gotten to the point where I can’t wait to get here in the morning.”
Morrison was selected in the 27th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox and played in the minors for three years before his return to Coastal.
In 2016, he played for the Kannapolis Intimidators in Class A. He appeared in 11 games, went 1-2 and recorded an ERA of 3.63. The following year, he split his time between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. Morrison recorded 12 saves throughout the 2017 season and was able to lower his ERA to 2.79.
While Morrison was able to pull out the most wins in his career (5) during the 2018 season for the Dash, he was eventually cut by the White Sox organization during spring training this year.
Morrison joined the pitching staff of Coastal following his release and is hoping to help the next group of Chanticleers see the success that he and his former teammates achieved back in 2016.
“I’ve talked with my former teammates and I told them that I might be chasing that feeling for the rest of my life. Winning the College World Series was that special,” Morrison said. “And if I can help another group get there in any form, then I think that that is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Head Coach Gary Gilmore said that bringing Morrison in will help re-establish a culture “throughout a unified team.”
“Mike was part of something that was so unique and special, not only in our program but probably across the country,” Gilmore said. “You had a group of people essentially will themselves to be a national champion and he was the leader of that group.”
Gilmore hopes that Morrison will have a long coaching career, regardless if it is at Coastal.
“To have him back here in his element, it’s exciting,” Gilmore said. “To see the impact that he is going to have here is rejuvenating.”
Morrison is excited to work with the players who are within the program.
“These guys we have now are 10,000 times more talented than I was as a player,” he said. “It is super exciting to see the caliber of players we have now after winning a national championship. It’s going to be fun to pick these guys’ brains and just teach them little quirks that I learned along the way.”
Morrison is also glad to be working with his former pitching coach Drew Thomas.
“A majority of the things I learned about pitching, I learned from Coach Thomas,” he said. “The things that the coaches do in the office, I have never seen before. Now, I am getting to watch that and learn even more from them and I get to see all the planning and scheduling that happens behind-the-scenes. I already had a great deal of respect for my coaches before this, but after working with them in the coaching capacity, I have an even greater respect for them now.”