Time for Touchdowns
FROM DEC., 2017: All-County Team advised, Be on the lookout for people who will have influence on your lives
By Vic MacDonald
As players, they’re told, be constantly aware of your surroundings. “Head on a swivel,” it’s called in football language. It keeps you from getting blindside-hit.
Laurens County Touchdown Club All-County players were advised last Wednesday of another “eyes open” moment - being aware in college that people come into your lives who can have a profound effect later.
Guest speaker Danny Morrison said he met two such influencers when he was a freshman at Wofford College. Former president Dr. Joe Lesesne was his professor, and later would offer Morrison the Athletic Director job. Lesesne was Wofford’s president for 28 years. Fellow Wofford alum Jerry Richardson, after playing in the NFL and launching Spartan Foods, would offer Morrison the presidency of the Carolina Panthers.
“You never know,” Morrison said, of being aware of people who later can come back into your life.
Morrison said as Wofford AD, he came to know former Presbyterian College football coach and director of athletics Cally Gault. “I was 31 as the Wofford AD and he was the PC AD, we had a great, great rivalry. Our teams competed on the field. Then, we were great friends off the field.”
Morrison said he met Richardson when Morrison was a Wofford basketball player stuck on campus during Thanksgiving. Richardson, his wife and three children hosted the basketball team at their home so the players could have a home-style Thanksgiving.
“They wanted us to have a family experience,” Morrison said of Richardson, who was age 35 at the time. As he progressed in his career, Morrison began watching Richardson’s business, which pioneered the Hardee’s fast-food chain.
In 1985, Lesesne called Morrison to offer the Wofford AD job. “Joe was a great encourager,” Morrison said. “He knew you’ve got to take risks to make progress. Don’t do anything stupid, but you can’t make progress if there is someone cutting your knees out from under you.”
After a time as AD at TCU, Morrison got a call from Richardson about the Panthers. Morrison said he learned the Richardson mantra of hard work, harmony, teamwork, listening and respect.
“There was a lot of coaching going on in those Hardee’s restaurants,” Morrison said. “Joe Lesesne and Jerry Richardson have similar values, but they have different ways. You learn from others, and apply the lessons to yourself. Leaders get results. Be steady, and try to get better every day.”
Last Wednesday night’s annual meeting was the 2017 wrap-up for the Laurens County Touchdown Club. The next major countywide sports event will be Laurens County Football Hall of Fame induction in March, 2018, also to be held at The Ridge recreation center in Laurens.
The Touchdown Club is an affiliate organization of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, meeting every other Friday for lunch during football season. Group sponsorship and meal-sponsor opportunities are available through the Chamber (864-833-2716).