At Gilbert High School, then-rookie pitcher Mike Morrison only had dreams of recruitment for the professional leagues.
Morrison was later invited to play in the Diamond Prospects Showcase at the University of South Carolina. Not really wanting to go, Morrison’s brother convinced him to go and play. At the showcase he pitched until the 8th inning and faced several kids who were committing to Clemson University. Morrison surprised himself with his performance and made an impression on Drew Thomas, Coastal Carolina’s pitching coach.
Morrison received a call from Coach Thomas the following day inviting him to come down to a camp at CCU. Morrison, along with his best friend Connor Owens, attended the camp and both received offers to come play. Morrison was a little hesitant to sign at first but realized this was his dream.
“We didn’t sign in the office but then I got in the car and was talking to my brother and was like well what are we doing? Well why wouldn’t I sign immediately, this is the dream to do this, they will put me on the roster, and I can do the rest,” Morrison said.
Sitting in the parking lot of Tanger Outlets, Morrison called Coach Gilmore and accepted his offer to play at Coastal Carolina.
And as Morrison put it, “the rest is history.”
During his time at Coastal, Morrison was an influential player to the CCU Baseball team. Coach Gilmore coached Morrison for four years and was able to watch him grow not just as a player but as a person.
“He was kind of one of the faces of the program for a while and guys have to want to be that. You have to give something up to be that person.”
The most memorable moment of Morrison’s time at CCU is winning the 2016 College World Series.
“Every feeling from about that month and a half I can channel at any point and it definitely leads to tears and emotions,” Morrison said.
Morrison was a part of something very special here at Coastal, however, Coach Gilmore thinks there is more to Morrison’s legacy than just winning a National title.
“He was such a fantastic player but you know, great of player as he was, in all honesty among his teammates and coaches his greater legacy was that of a leader and the most selfless guy, it’d be hard pressed to find someone more selfless than him that’s ever played in the program,” Gilmore said.
Morrison returns to CCU after playing for three years for the Chicago White Sox Organization before he was released from the organization this spring.
With baseball season only a few months away, the team is hard at work preparing for the season. Coach Gilmore is looking forward to having Morrison back on the team, not only as coach but as someone the players can look up too.
“It’s extremely rejuvenating so to speak to have his enthusiasm and zest for being out there and being a part of our team and helping Drew with pitching. It is an unbelievable feeling on my end, he just brings a great breath of fresh air to the program,” Gilmore said.
Being back at Coastal has also been a fun and emotional for Morrison.
“Oh, it’s unbelievable. I didn’t think it would be this much fun. I haven’t been here in like four years and watching it from afar, you just forget how much you actually love this place.
Morrison is excited to work with this team who is already putting in the hours.
“Super, Super exciting. Watching bullpens so far with Zach McCambley and Garrett McDaniel’s, these guys are a lot better than I ever was, so it is super exciting to be a part of their career,” Morrison said.
Morrison would also like to thank everyone for having him back at Coastal.
“Thank you to everyone on campus for having me back here at Coastal, this place is the best,” Morrison said.