John Morris Interview: The Bear FactsNov. 2, 2003
Since coming to Baylor from a successful career in broadcasting, John Morris has endeared himself to the Baylor family as "The Voice of the Baylor Bears" on sports broadcasts and as master of ceremonies for many University events. BaylorNews talked to him about his work and family, and how it feels to know his on-air mistakes are immortalized each week on television.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Danville, Kentucky, and graduated from Danville High School in 1977. I started at Baylor in the fall of 1977, graduated in December 1980 and have been in Waco ever since.
Your spent a number of years at Channel 10 KWTX-TV here in Waco, most of those as sports director and anchor. What was that experience like?
It was great. I majored in radio/TV/film at Baylor and liked sports. I got a job at Channel 10 when I was a junior and stayed there after I graduated. I was very fortunate to be in that position, and couldn't have asked for anything better.
Do you ever miss the life of a TV sports anchor?
Not really. I did that for 15 years. Not that I was tired of it, but 15 years was probably enough.
What made you decide to leave Channel 10 for Baylor?
The opportunity to follow Frank Fallon in this position. I worked with him for eight years when he was doing play-by-play and I did color [for football broadcasts], so when the position became available, the honor of following him was the main thing.
What are your job responsibilities at Baylor?
My title is director of broadcasting. I'm involved with anything that's broadcast-related here in the athletic department, which includes radio broadcasts, lining up radio stations and doing contracts with them, and overseeing things on the TV show Inside Baylor Sports. I also do play-by-play for football and men's basketball. For six years I did play-by-play for baseball as well, but there was just too much of an overlap, so we made a change last year. I do still fill in here and there doing a bit of baseball and softball -- I've even filled in and done some women's basketball, too.
As part of your job as a Baylor announcer and master of ceremonies you've met a lot of celebrities. Who's the celebrity you most enjoyed meeting?
Bill Cosby is the first one who comes to mind. Not this most recent time, but when he was here last fall and did a show in the Ferrell Center. They delayed the start of the show because of traffic outside, so we ended up in the basketball locker room, just him and me, sitting and talking for 15 minutes while waiting on the show to start. It was a neat experience to sit with a guy like that, just the two of us, and talk.
What's the thing you like most about your job?
I enjoy game days because all games are exciting once you get there, and you're not a part of the action but you've got the best seat in the house.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
The only thing would be the time away from home, because sometimes that gets a little tough with three kids at home. I travel a lot less now that I'm not doing baseball -- that was the most time-consuming away from home.
Tell us a bit about your family.
My wife, Terri, is a Baylor graduate. She's from Houston originally. We met at Baylor and have been married since 1984. She teaches fifth grade at Midway Intermediate School. We have three kids: Meagan, our oldest daughter, is 14 and a freshman at Midway High School and a JV cheerleader this year; Maddie is 10 and in the fifth grade, and she's our soccer player; and then M.J. is our son, he'll be 7 in November and is a first grader out at Spring Valley Elementary.
You and Lori Fogleman are co-hosts for Inside Baylor Sports. What's it like working on that show?
Well, Lori's great to work with. We've known each other for a long time and worked together at Channel 10. The producers we have do a good job, there's camaraderie between everybody and we have fun doing it.
But isn't it a bit intimidating to know that any goofs you make while taping the show are going to end up as televised outtakes?
Not really, you just know that's part of it. Sometimes [the producers are] looking for those goof-ups. You can see a sparkle in their eye when we messed up because they know they've got something.
If you're not on the job -- just relaxing -- what sport is your favorite to watch?
It seems I like whatever is in season the best. During the fall, there's nothing like college football. I grew up in Kentucky, so college basketball is near and dear to my heart. I played baseball in high school so I've always liked it as well.
What are some things about you that most people don't know?
First, I played trombone in the band in high school and my freshman year at Baylor. Second, I got to do three plays of play-by-play in 1988 before Frank Fallon retired, when Frank got caught in a long restroom line at the Rice game. And I've been a member of the Baylor football broadcast team for 180 consecutive games going into the 2003 season.