Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Beast: A Legend Says Goodbye

The Beast
May 18, 2018 - 12:53 pm

‘Canes baseball coach Jim Morris, or “3” as his players and friends call him (because that’s the number he wears,) and I reminisce every time we see each other about us both arriving on the UM campus in 1994. Obviously, while I think of myself as a legend in the Gables, Morris truly is.
 
Morris was tasked with taking over a UM baseball program that had won two college world series and was one of the top five programs in college baseball for the better part of two decades before Jim got there. He had to live up to the reputation of The Wizard of College Baseball, Ron Fraser, a coach that not only brought the Hurricanes’ program to the forefront with his beyond-creative marketing ploys, but also advanced the game of college baseball into the public eye, helping to get the sport on ESPN and other national broadcasts and making the College World Series an event that you had to pay attention to.
 
Morris got to Miami after being really successful at Georgia Tech with the likes of Nomar, Varitek and Kevin Brown. But, as he famously tells it, on his first visit to the ‘Light’ for his interview for the Miami job, when he saw that they kept the second place trophies in the bathroom stalls, he understood that Miami was a different animal. The expectation was to win, every year, no matter what.
 
Morris won two College World Series’ at Miami. He’s put more players in Major League Baseball than I can count. He took the team to 23 post seasons in 25 years, and there’s still a chance they could get there this year. He’s won conference titles and conference tournaments. I’ve continued to say this, Miami is the North Carolina of College Baseball. Obviously College Hoops gets a lot more attention than College Baseball, but when you think about all of the obstacles that Morris has had to face, with Miami being a private school and kids having to actually pay their way to play there because the NCAA only allows college baseball teams to have 11.7 scholarships, what he has done with this Miami squad over the years has been nothing short of remarkable.
 
Miami has had amazing coaches on their campus. Howard, Jimmy, Dennis, Fraser, Amy Deem (track coach and USA Olympic Track Coach, Randy Ableman (Miami and US Diving Coach),  and so many more, but it would be hard to argue that Morris is not the best of them all. I’m sure Gino DiMare will not skip a beat in taking over the team he played for and was born to coach, but it’s only a matter of time before that statue of ‘3’ is right next to the statue of Fraser outside The Light. We’ll miss you Jim and we raise our Mark Light Shakes in your honor.

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