Chris Morris was working at a summer camp across the country at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, when he received word there was a head baseball coaching vacancy at Bangor’s Husson University.
“I was throwing batting practice at Stanford, and one of my good friends who knew I was from Maine was standing there and he said, ‘Hey, are you going back to Maine? Your head coach just left,’” Morris said. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And then I opened my phone and found out and thought it would be a perfect fit.”
The 2010 Husson graduate’s baseball journey came full circle Monday with his hiring as the school’s new head coach. Morris replaces Jason Harvey, who resigned for personal reasons in July after 12 years on the job.
“We are thrilled to have Chris take the reins of our baseball program,” Husson Athletic Director Frank Pergolizzi said. “Chris certainly has a love for Husson University and Husson baseball. His experience at other top-notch Division III institutions as well as collegiate summer wooden-bat baseball will be of much value to our program. We are confident that Husson baseball will continue to experience great success.”
The 31-year-old Morris, a Hampden Academy graduate, went on to be a four-year letter winner and team captain in baseball for Husson and also lettered twice in football for the Eagles.
He began his coaching career at Husson in 2012 as the baseball pitching coach while serving as wide receivers coach in football in 2012 and the defensive backs coach in 2013 and 2014.
Morris then became an assistant baseball coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015 and helped the Engineers win the 2016 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship before moving to Brandeis University as assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator in 2018.
“I love the game and love building relationships with kids, but I think I’ve matured over these past four years from working with different people at MIT and Brandeis,” Morris said. “I’d only known Husson before that, and I think it was important for me from a development standpoint to get away and find my own voice.”
Morris gained additional coaching experience during several summers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, first as the pitching coach of the Sanford Mainers and then as the team’s manager for three seasons beginning in 2016.
In his first year at the helm, Morris led the Moose to the NECBL Northern Division championship and was named the league’s Joel Cooney Manager of the Year.
“Coaching that caliber of kid I learned a lot about what I needed to do to be a successful coach,” Morris said of his NECBL stint.
Morris joins a Husson program that finished 27-16 this spring and won the North Atlantic Conference tournament title before dropping a best-of-three series to Baruch College of New York City in a quest to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“They won it last year, there’s some really good pieces returning. I think we’re a contender now,” Morris said. “That’s the mentality Husson baseball should have every year. We have unbelievable facilities, an unbelievable support staff. The success this baseball program has had with Jay [Harvey] and what he developed here, I don’t see us changing that. We’re going to keep the same kind of mentality, and it’s our championship until someone takes it from us.”
Morris also is looking forward to being back home, this time with his wife, Kathleen, and their 19-month-old son Max.
“It’s been quite the journey, but my family and I are very, very excited to be back,” he said.