Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rest in Peace: HOWARD MORRIS - Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame, Football All-American, Retired jersey #43, Played on first two Linfield 'Streak' teams

Memorial Service Aug. 5, 2017  
W. Howard Morris, 81, died Monday, July 17, 2017, at his Klamath Falls residence with family at his side.
His memorial service will be 2 p.m., Saturday Aug. 5, 2017, in Klamath Falls at Oregon Institute of Technology in the OIT College Union’s Mt. Mazama Room.

= From Linfield Sports Info
Linfield legend Howard Morris passes away

July 18, 2017
Howard Morris, a giant in the sports annals of Linfield College and the Oregon Institute of Technology, died peacefully on Monday at his home in Klamath Falls. He was 81.

“We certainly lost a champion of a person,” said Linfield director of athletics Garry Killgore. “As a Linfield graduate, Howard was a shining example of what we would hope our current student-athletes would aspire to be – someone who was a positive role model for so many over a long period of time. His devotion to Linfield College was beyond admirable. He supported our mission enthusiastically, both financially and by attending games, even though he lived a great distance away.”

A Hall of Fame football player at Linfield in the 1950s, Morris went on to a memorable career as a football and wrestling coach and administrator in southern Oregon.
Morris' No. 43 football jersey is one of only three to ever be retired by Linfield, joining those worn by Ad Rutschman and Vic Fox.

At Linfield, Morris was a four-year football letterman for coach Paul Durham and played two seasons of baseball under Roy Helser. The NAIA, Associated Press and Williamson System named Morris to their respective All-America teams following the 1957 football season and he garnered United Press Little All-Coast honors as an offensive guard. His work ethic and on-field enthusiasm made him a three-time Most Inspirational Player award recipient.
In 1958, he was a finalist for the Hayward Award as the state's top amateur athlete at the annual Banquet of Champions, now the Oregon Sports Awards. He was a key member of the 1956 and 1957 football teams which won consecutive Northwest Conference championships. Those successful campaigns launched Linfield's famous "Streak" of consecutive winning seasons, now standing at a national all-divisions record of 61 in a row.

After starring at Linfield, Morris' career in education began at Tigard High School where he taught biology and history and coached football, wrestling, and baseball for four years. In 1962, he, together with his wife, Ginger, moved to Klamath Falls and began a long association with the Oregon Institute of Technology. At OIT, he served as head wrestling coach for 15 years, was head and assistant football coach for 24 years, and led the baseball program for five seasons. Morris taught health for 10 years and later was athletic director for 20 years while serving as chair of the physical education department for 18 of those years. Morris retired OIT athletic director and was accorded the distinction of professor emeritus.
After retiring from Oregon Tech, he was commissioner of the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference, of which Oregon Tech is a member.

His pursuit of excellence in athletics is remembered in six halls of fame. In 1996, Morris was presented for induction to the NAIA Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Okla., by Paul Durham. He is also included in the NAIA District 2 coaches and players halls of fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Crater High School Hall of Fame. In 1999, he joined the second class of inductees into the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.
“The thoughts of our entire athletic department are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Howard is survived by his wife Ginger, five children, 10 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The Morrises recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
The Morris family has asked for privacy but will announce memorial service information in the coming days.

=From McMinnville N-R/News-Register
Linfield Hall of Famer Howard Morris, 81, succumbs

By Rusty Rae, Sports Editor, McMinnville N-R/News-Register, July 17, 2017 (posted online)

A member of the Linfield College football team that started the Wildcat 61-year winning streak, Howard Morris, 81, succumbed at 4:22 p.m. today in Klamath Falls where he lived.

In 1999, he was in the second “class” enshrined in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame, which was established in 1998.

Morris, who lettered four years in football, and his jersey, number 43, is one of only three football uniform numbers retired by the college. The other two retired numbers are those of Ad Rutschman and Vic Fox.

For the Linfield Wildcats, he lettered four years (1954 through 1957) as a football guard and two as a baseball catcher and outfielder.

Morris Wildcat football playing honors include 1957 All-American first team guard by NAIA, Associated Press, and Williamson System, and United Press Little All-Coast.

In 1958 he was a finalist as one of Oregon's outstanding sports figures, determined by a Hayward (now The Oregonian) Banquet of Champions judges' votes.

The last two Linfield teams on which we played -- 1956 (6-1-2) and 1957 (8-1) – were the first two teams of Linfield’s famous “Streak.” Both teams were Northwest Conference Champions, too.

Linfield's most inspirational football player award winner three of his four seasons, Morris was chosen 1956 co-team captain and 1957 team captain.

Voted the team’s best downfield blocker for the 1957 season it was said that a review of Wildcat football game film found his with three downfield blocks. Game film caught three blocks made by Howard on one play.

He makes a block, disappears off the edge of the screen, only to reappear making another block, disappear again and reappear to make a third block.

That is the Linfield way and Morris’ way has been inspiring Linfield football player for more than half a century.

After graduation he taught biology and history and coached football, wrestling, and baseball four years at Tigard High School.

In 1962, he moved to Klamath Falls and began his association with Oregon Institute of Technology. The OIT Owls gained from Morris' hard work and leadership. He served as head wrestling coach for 15 years and also served as head baseball and football coach. For 10 years, he taught health and was athletic director and chair of the physical education department for 18 years. Morris retired in 1992 as OIT athletic director and became a professor emeritus.

He served as commissioner of the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference, of which Oregon Tech is a member, from 1994 to 2003. In 1996, Morris was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Okla., with Paul Durham, his Linfield football coach, presenting him. Other honors for Morris include NAIA District 2 coaches and players’ halls of fame, administrator of the year, and wrestling coach of the year.

Morris and his widow, Ginger Dew Morris -- both graduates of Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon, High School -- graduated from Linfield in 1958 and 1959 respectively. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Sept. 1, 2016.

Information for this story was supplied by the Linfield College Sports Information web site. Tim Marsh assisted with this article.

=From Klamath Falls Herald & News
OIT athletics hold fond memories for Howard Morris

By Steve Kadel, Aug. 6, 2007 Klamath Falls, Oregon, Herald & News

The football game was played decades ago, but Howard Morris remembers every critical play.

That includes Southern Oregon State College quarterback Dan Miles rolling out against Oregon Institute of Technology and taking a hard hit on a touchdown run. The blow knocked out a tooth and left Miles unconscious.

Referees called timeout as Miles pulled himself together. The next thing OIT coach Morris saw was Miles lining up to kick the extra point — despite a rule requiring injured players to leave the game for at least one play.

The kick was good, and Morris was livid.

He ran toward referees to complain, and was sacked with a penalty for coming onto the field illegally.

Morris can now laugh about the incident, and a narrow loss to the visitors, from the comfort of a living room chair in his Klamath Falls home. It was just one of the memories he recalled during a recent interview.

Always loved sports

The longtime OIT teacher, coach and athletic director was born and raised in Medford. He was passionate about sports from an early age, joining his pals for marathon baseball games on vacant lots.

“We’d leave home at 8 a.m. to play, and we came home for dinner,” Morris said.

He played baseball and football at Crater High School, earning a spot in the school Hall of Fame for football. He continued in athletics at Linfield College, where his football prowess earned Morris a spot in the college Hall of Fame as well as first-team All American honors.

He taught and coached for four years at Tigard High School before bringing his coaching expertise to OIT. He began as head OIT wrestling coach, and assistant coach in baseball and football in 1962. By 1965, he’d taken the head football coaching job.

Morris said football was his favorite sport because of its intricacy.

“More than other sports I participated in, it was a chess game,” he said.

Greatest Service Award

A milestone came in 1967-68 when OIT began offering four-year bachelor degrees. Before that, the school gave only two-year certificates and recruiting was a constant preoccupation.

Morris wasn’t athletic director when Miles was hired as an OIT coach. However, he gave a positive recommendation for hiring the man whose name has become synonymous with OIT Hustlin’ Owls basketball.

Miles has nothing but praise for Morris.

“Howard was a tremendous athlete,” Miles said, “and he’s always been a kind, good man. He was soft-spoken, but I’ve seen him get fired up a few times.

“He was a very good man to work for. You felt like his door was always open.”

Morris received one of his highest honors during the 2004 OIT Alumni Awards banquet — the Greatest Service Award.

OIT President Martha Anne Dow said at the time that Morris’ efforts helped establish Hustlin’ Owls teams for their emphasis on excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship.

Morris and Ginger have given to the school by establishing an endowed scholarship at OIT in 2003.

Honeymoon had to wait

Morris married his wife, Ginger, as a Linfield College student. Their honeymoon was supposed to be a trip up the Oregon Coast, but Morris came down with flu and Ginger caught it from him.

Their trip was postponed as other things dominated their time.

“Our honeymoon was a trip to football practice,” Ginger joked.

They got an unsettling welcome to Klamath Falls after arriving in 1962. Main Street was buzzing with activity as they sought a place to eat the first night in town.

“Every block there were one or two bars,” Morris said.

They found a diner called the Chuck Wagon, which Morris called “the only respectable place to take a family.”

Just as they were about to enter, a man wearing a cowboy hat emerged from the door, firing pistols into the air. The Morris family recoiled in shock, thinking they’d encountered a hidden pocket of the Old West.

It turned out to be Pistol Pete, a town legend, and it was all an act with blanks in the guns to generate atmosphere for the Chuck Wagon.

From athletic trips to Klamath Falls from Medford, Morris said, he’d come to consider the city “at the end of the world.”

“I came (for the OIT job) and thought I’d be here for a couple of years,” he said.

That stretched into a lifetime.

“We found it was a good place to raise our kids,” Ginger said.

“We fell in love with the place,” Morris agreed.

The couple still attends sports events, especially football games. They have season tickets to Linfield and Oregon State University football games.

Morris and his wife enjoy spending summer days at Fish Lake, where they have a fifth-wheel. Family reunions there include their five children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

For all the top-level sports teams he’s been part of, Morris and his wife form the best team of all. They will celebrate their 51st anniversary on Sept. 1.

=From Oregon Tech Sports Info
Former Oregon Tech Athletic Director Howard Morris Passes Away

July 18, 2017

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Former Oregon Tech Athletic Director and Head Coach Howard Morris passed away at his home in Klamath Falls on Monday surrounded by family and friends. He was 81.
Morris began his wrestling and football coaching career at Tigard High School in 1958 before taking over the head coaching job at Oregon Tech from 1962-1977. Other coaching duties at Oregon Tech included head football coach from 1965-67 while assisting for 24 seasons, head baseball coach from 1978-1983 and assisting for three years. Morris also served Oregon Tech as the Athletics Director from 1972 until his retirement in 1992. Howard became the first ever Commissioner of the Cascade Collegiate Conference in 1992 and retired 2003.

Along with his induction to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Morris was also a member of the Crater High School Hall of Fame for football in 2003 and at Linfield College in 1999, where Morris was named a 1st Team All-American, along with his jersey being retired at the University. Howard was inducted into the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame - National Service Award in 2008 and NAIA - National Hall of Fame, and received Outstanding Achievement and Meritorious Service at OIT in 1996.
Howard and his wife Virginia "Ginger" also became avid Oregon Tech supporters and supplied scholarships for student athletes. Howard and Ginger Morris established the Howard and Ginger Morris Scholarship in 2004 to assist a worthy student athlete who has demonstrated outstanding citizenship and moral character, inspirational leadership skills, average to outstanding academic and athletic ability and could be described as a "team player."

"Our sympathy goes out to the Morris family," stated CCC Commissioner Robert Cashell. "Howard was an endearing person and well respected among the CCC members and within the NAIA as a true leader in intercollegiate athletics."
Ginger and Howard had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Howard is survived by his wife Ginger, 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. The Morris family has asked for privacy but will announce services in the coming days.

=Crater High School (Central Point, Oregon) Foundation Hall of Fame
Howard Morris, Crater High Class of 1954

Howard earned 9 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. Howard was All Conference in football and baseball and played in the 1954 Oregon Shrine All Star Game.
Howard played football at Linfield College where he was All Conference and All District two times; 1st team All American in 1958; Most Inspirational Player all three years at Linfield; finalist for the Oregon Athlete of the Year at the Hayward Banquet of Champions.

He was voted into the NAIA District Hall of Fame in 1966.
Howard was Athletic director at OIT for over 30 years and was voted Coach of the Year in wrestling in 1969, Coach of the Year in baseball in 1980 and 1981, and NAIA District 2 Administrator of the year in 1989.

In 1991 he was inducted into the NAIA Coaches Hall of Fame and in 1996 was inducted into the NAIA National Hall of Fame.

=From Medford Mail-Tribune
Where Are They Now: Howard Morris, Crater High School Class of 1954

By Tim Trower, Medford, Oregon, Mail Tribune, Dec. 18, 2010

Howard Morris has spent a lifetime in athletics, but it was one of the great upsets in Rogue Valley high school history that remains among his most memorable events.
Fifty years ago, Morris was a member of the Crater High football team that stunned vaunted Medford High, 20-14. It was the 2-A Comets’ first-ever game against a 1-A team and remains the Central Point school’s only football win over the Black Tornado.

The 1953 team held a reunion in early September, when it was inducted into the school’s hall of fame.
“I told everybody that after some 40 years of playing and coaching,” says Morris, a longtime athletic director and coach at Oregon Institute of Technology, “there are a handful of games that stick out. And that Medford-Crater game was one of the first ones.”

Morris, 67, resigned six weeks ago as Cascade Conference commissioner. He was the OIT athletic director from 1974-92 and was the head coach in football, wrestling and baseball during a 30-year stint at the Klamath Falls school.

In addition, he served on a number of NAIA national committees, is a past president of the NAIA Wrestling Coaches Association, was honored as the NAIA administrator of the year in 2000 and was inducted in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1996.
Through it all stands that game a half-century ago.

“We were probably initially wondering what we were getting ourselves into, says Morris, but the coaches did a good job of building us up. You know that old adage ‘They put their pants on one leg at a time.’ Sizewise, we matched up pretty good with them. We had a good football team.”
Early in the game, Morris blocked a punt and recovered it, then minutes later recovered a fumble to set up Crater’s first TD. While Harvey Tonn and Gordie Carrigan were scoring TDs, Morris and Melvin Harsh were leading the defense.

After high school, Morris planned to attend Oregon State and follow in his dad’s footsteps in the forest service but changed his mind after the 1954 Shrine Game.
“I found out I could play with those guys, he says, adding that best friend Larry Bigham was headed to Linfield. I just jumped on the bus and went up there with him.”

What he thought would be two years of ball and then on to Oregon State turned into four years, many postseason honors and a career in athletics.
Morris spent four years teaching and coaching at Tigard High, then latched on at OIT. He retired in 1992 but continued his NAIA and conference work.

A couple of things he hasn’t retired from are fishing (his parents used to own Fish Lake and Willow Lake resorts) and spring baseball trips to Arizona, where he and his wife, Ginger, have Giants season tickets.

=From Wildcatville
Both graduates (Howard in 1954 and Ginger in 1955) of Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon, Howard and Ginger Morris celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Sept. 1, 2016. William Howard Morris (Linfield Class of 1958) and Virginia “Ginger” Dew Morris (Linfield Class of 1959) married in Medford, Ore., Sept. 1, 1956.

There is no good way to summarize Howard Morris’ resume. Thus, this is not a resume summary. It is a few highlights of a resume full of them:

--Professional activities include Evergreen Conference president, NAIA District 2 chair and NAIA National Council of District Chairs
--Oregon Tech institutional committees include Faculty Senate charter member.

--Related to Klamath Falls community Kiwanis Club president and Klamath Gems baseball team minority owner
--Education in addition to graduating from Crater High School in Central Point and Linfield College in McMinnville, he earned an Education M.S. degree from Oregon State University and he did graduate study at the University of Oregon.

To those who received this information via email, to see photos described below, visit wildcatville (dot) blogspot (dot) com to see them

=Two black & white photos of Howard as a Linfield football player from Linfield “Oak Leaves’ student yearbooks.
=Color photo (by Todd E. Swenson of the Klamath Falls Herald & News) of Howard wearing a light green polo shirt. Photo accompanied an Aug. 6, 2007, Klamath Falls Herald & News story by Steve Kadel about Howard.

=Black & white photo from when Howard Morris was with Oregon’s Tigard High School. Photo provided by Linfielder Tom Rohlffs. Howard is in lower left hand corner as an assistant football coach, posing along with two players and the THS head football coach.
=Color photo of Howard Morris as OIT athletic director from OIT Sports Information website. He’s wearing a white dress shirt and a necktie.

=Black & white photo of Howard and Ginger Morris from a Crater High School (Central Point, Oregon) alumni newsletter.
=Color photo of display case which includes one of the #43 jerseys Howard wore playing football for Linfield 1954-1957 and the #53 jersey he wore playing in the 1954 Shrine high school All-Star football game in Portland. The case is in the home of Harry (son-in-law of Howard & Ginger) and Carol (daughter of Howard & Ginger) Mauch. Beneath the case on the wall is a certificate Howard received upon being named an All-American football player for Linfield, his Linfield Athletics and Crater High School Halls of Fame plaques and a Shriners 1954 All-Star. Football game patch.

=Black & white photo of Howard wearing a bow tie from Crater Foundation, Central Point, Oregon.