When I was younger I used to collect Baseball cards with my older brother. My mother was often distraught because our closet floor was a permanent layer of cardboard, with the trading cards of our favorite 1980’s athletes such Ozzie Smith, John Elway, and Mark Eaton scattered everywhere. We loved collecting the cards, but not just because of the images of the athletes on the front side of the cards, but also because of the “Career Statistics” that were always found on the back of the cards! After a childhood of studying these cards, my brother and I can now tell you all sorts of meaningless sports data. I am sad to report that I cannot currently remember where my car keys are, but somehow I recall that Barry Sanders had 99 career touchdowns, Ken Griffey Jr had 624 career home runs, and Dikembe Mutumbo once had 12 blocks in one NBA game!
In this past week, one of our own Waterford Athletic Superstars was recognized for their many accomplishments in the world of High School Athletics. We are proud to announce that Craig Morris was selected as the 2023 UHSAA Athletic Director of the year! To celebrate all that he has done within our Waterford community, I would like to attempt to accumulate a list of ‘Career Stats” for Coach Morris to put on the back of his own trading card. Math is not my strongest subject, but with the help of the calculator app on my phone, and a direct insight into all that Craig does for our school, I have been able to come up with a good estimate on some key Coaching and Athletic Directing statistics that he has accumulated over the last 26 years.
Under Craig’s direction, Waterford has earned a reputation throughout the Utah High School Sports as a school that consistently produces teams that are intelligent, tough, unified, skilled and who play the game the right way. As a former player, a coach, and now a parent of a Waterford Athlete, I recognize that being an athlete at Waterford is not always easy. The high academic requirements and time demands of a Waterford education are wonderful blessings, but they also require a special commitment and sacrifice from our athletes, coaches and families. Craig had created an Athletic Program that not only fits in with the Liberal Arts mission of the school, but also produces high quality teams that consistently compete for State and Regional Championships, which is incredibly difficult and a remarkable achievement.
However, to me, the most important line in Craig Morris’ “Career Stats” is not the amount of Championships won, or All-State Athletes produced. The most important stat is the estimated 1170 Waterford Alumni who have put on a Waterford jersey in the last 26 years. Nearly 75% of our Upper School students participate in a High School sport, and those lives have all been changed for the better because of their time as a Wolf or a Raven.
One of my favorite experiences as a coach is to attend the end-of-season team banquets that our teams typically host when their seasons have concluded. At these banquets it is always my practice to take a moment and observe the Seniors who have just concluded their final season in one of our programs and to reflect on the type of men and women they have grown into. Some of those Senior athletes were star players, who won athletic awards and championships, and went on to play collegiate athletics, while others were role players or even bench players. But no matter their level of athleticism, those athletes are refined, experienced, respectful, strong, resilient, well-balanced and caring young adults. The experiences that they have had as a Waterford Athlete have prepared them to be forces for good in the world, Craig has played the central role in creating a culture that has produced so many fine young people.
I know that my family has always had a great appreciation for our experiences as Waterford Athletes, and for all that Coach Morris has done to facilitate those wonderful teams, coaches and teammates that we were a part of. Now, I am looking forward to the time that my own children will get to spend as an athlete with the word “Ravens” written across the front of their jersey.
Thank you again Craig for all that you have done for all of us Ravens.
December 18, 2019
April 26, 2018
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