Wade Winner: Daniel Morrison
Congratulations to Daniel Morrison of Archbishop Alter High School on being chosen as our latest Wade Award winner! Mr. Morrison was nominated by coworker Rick Willits for this award, which is bestowed on those professionals who are recognized by their peers for consistently showcasing the qualities of a Wade:
- Exuding passion for what they do
- Sharing and inspiring their passion in others
- Making a positive difference every day
In the nomination, Mr. Willits wrote:
“From calling sponsors for the all sports program, to running a summer camp. From edging the sidewalks to shoveling snow on a Sunday night. From coaching, football, basketball and track to picking up trash around campus. This guy does it all!! And he does it with passion, a smile on his face and generosity in his heart. He truly loves Alter and everything about it. Heck, when we bought a new mascot this year and we solicited names for the mascot, there were a few write in votes that said his name should be Dan Morrison.
A great and recent story I can share is after a snow storm dumped 6 inches on our school the night before a big home Saturday night basketball game, Dan came up early in the morning and put in overtime to make sure the sidewalks and lobby area were cleared of snow and salted so the game would not be cancelled. The team lost a close game that Saturday night and shot poorly. So to top it off his weekend of “otherish giving” (an Adam Grant term), when school and practice were cancelled on Monday due to another snow storm on Sunday, Dan came up to shovel again and open the gym for three players to shoot a 1,000 shots for two hours. He did this all with a smile on his face and a generosity of spirit which is not found in most 20-year-olds.”
We interviewed Mr. Morrison to learn more about his coaching philosophy and personal best practices. Here’s what he had to share:
Q: What made you choose education and coaching as your lifework?
A: While working on my Eagle Scout for Boy Scouts, I was a mentor for my parish’s Cub Scout Troop. It was around 9th grade that I felt wanted to pursue a career path that interacted with adolescents and young adults because I had such an enjoyable experience engaging with the younger scouts. For me, I always had a passion in subjects that revolved around the social sciences such as history and politics. I figured the best way to combine both skills would be to teach because I could instruct on topics I like and help kids and teens broaden their knowledge and critical thinking skills. I always loved playing football and basketball when I was at Alter High School. After graduating, I wanted to give back to both programs that taught me so many valuable life lessons. As a young coach, I work with the athletes not just to improve their skills of the game, but to also teach them to have strong character, play with humility, and to help them be successful in life.
Q: What are the benefits of a robust athletic experience as part of a rounded education?
A: I have learned that connections and networking will pay off a lot down the road. Being able to be a part of a successful football and basketball program has allowed me to attend coaching clinics, meet college recruiters, and gain knowledge from the veterans on staff. Attending college and being full time with sports is time demanding but the rewards and outcomes make it so much fun and enjoyable to coach. A well-rounded academic and athletic experience has enabled me to understand the true meaning of hard work, teamwork, winning with dignity and losing with grace, and sacrificing my own self-interest for the good of a group.
Q: How do you help students perform at their highest level?
A: One of my main responsibilities is being the weight room moderator, instructor, and planner for the off-season and in-season training and lifting sessions. The athletes I am responsible for know I have high expectations when it comes to working. I demand positive attitude, strong effort, and execution of their lifts, drills, and other activities. Being patient, open-minded, and cooperating with them allows both the athlete and myself to make sure we are all on the same page. I always encourage questions to be asked so no one walks away feeling disappointed or lost. Providing help and supplemental instruction so each person can grow stronger physically and mentally, as well as finding purpose and stability, are always my interests when helping them perform at their peak.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
A: The most rewarding aspect of my work is seeing those I’m helping improve and get better. Sometimes it takes baby steps and other times, a slight adjustment leads to a different individual performing well the next day. I know I’m doing my job when I see the athletes I help significantly improve throughout the season, as well as having fun and energy when doing it. There’s more than just teaching the X’s and O’s of a game. Engaging in conversation and finding common interests among the players makes it more meaningful because the relationship becomes more congenial. I enjoy asking a player how their test went, or where was the coolest place they visited on their vacation, because I genuinely care for their well being and want them to know I’m always there to listen and talk, especially in times when they need someone they can turn to for guidance.
Q: Are there any additional personal best practices or advice that you’d like to share with our readers?
A: A few ago, I asked my high school basketball coach why he liked coaching. He told me that coaching isn’t always about the wins and losses. It’s about creating memories and relationships with your players. He said that being able to stay in touch in with former players down the road brings a smile on his face. From the wedding invites, to seeing their kids grow up, is a blessing. I took this to heart because that is the kind of person that I want to be. Even though I’m still a young coach, I look forward to experiencing those moments. Everything you do shouldn’t be for your own gain and advancement. Whether it’s family time, business related, or sports oriented, having the ability of putting others first and recognizing what’s in the best interest creates new pathways and opportunities for happiness and achievement.
We want to thank Mr. Morrison for taking the time to share these helpful insights, and congratulate him once again on his award. Please feel free to share your congratulations in the comments as well!
Also, we welcome your nominations for those colleagues in your organization who are true Wades. Visit our nomination page to submit a candidate today. We look forward to hearing from you!