Over the summer, Daemen College hired William Morris to become the College’s full-time Athletic Director, taking over for longtime A.D. Don Silveri, who stepped down to concentrate on his coaching duties as part of Daemen’s quest for NCAA Division II membership. Recently, Morris sat down with Athletic Communications Director Mike Miranto for a short question and answer session…
What are as your immediate priorities as Athletic Director?
In year one, my top priorities will be to do the things necessary to gain NCAA Division II Membership for the 2012-2013 academic year and to work with our External Relations Office to create the Wildcat Fund for athletic giving. I would also like to do some things with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote Daemen College Athletics to the community.
With those initiatives in mind, what highlights of your background will help you lead Daemen College Athletics for the foreseeable future?
I have had the opportunity to work with and for great people over the years. Those leaders have molded who I am today as a professional. The highlights are being able to oversee sports and working directly with the Human Resources Office when I was an Associate A.D. at Niagara University. The ability to work with individual coaches and their personalities all while monitoring their budgets was an invaluable experience that will carry over directly to Daemen College. My human resources background has already paid dividends as we have already been able to create and update job descriptions because of my specific experiences.
Where do you see Daemen College Athletics being in five years? And then in 10 years?
In five years, I see Daemen College competing as a full member of the NCAA Division II and the East Coast Conference. In 10 years, it is my expectation that Daemen College will have already established itself as a power in the ECC and will be competing with teams at the regional and national level of NCAA Division II. Both will take an extreme amount of work but it is a challenge I am excited about.
What are some of the challenges you expect to face along the way?
Initially, the biggest challenge for me will be learning a new campus and new processes as quickly as possible so that we can operate without skipping a beat and push forward.
What organizations are you involved in away from campus?
Most of my community involvement is with my children and their participation in athletics. My children – William III (6), and Francesca (4) – participate in athletics with the St. Barnabas Athletic Association, North Cheektowaga Amateur Athletic Association, Lancaster-Depew Baseball, and they also dance at Stages Dance Studio. More importantly, I serve as the Vice President of the Maryvale School Board. These activities and our occupations tend to spread my wife, Jacqueline, and I pretty thin, but we manage with a team effort.
Where did you spend your childhood and were you involved in athletics as a child?
I grew up in the small village of Greenwood Lake, NY which is located in Orange County, about an hour north of New York City. Growing up, I played all kinds of sports, especially soccer, basketball, and baseball. My town was too small to have any youth football. After high school, I played baseball at Canisius College where I met my wife who was a four-year starter on the softball team there.
What is a little known fact about yourself?
In college, I was involved in a quadruple-header (4 games in 1 day). I was the winning pitcher in the fourth game in extra innings. It was against Siena College in 1998 while I was at Canisius. Since then, the NCAA has said that schools are not permitted to play that many games in a day.