SBD/Issue 242/Franchises

NFL Panthers Hire TCU AD Danny Morrison As Team President

Morrison Attended, Worked At Wofford
College, Jerry Richardson's Alma Mater
The NFL Panthers yesterday named TCU AD Danny Morrison the team's new President, replacing Mark Richardson. Morrison in about one month will assume the responsibilities of handling the Panthers' business operations and Bank of America Stadium interests, as well as representing the franchise in many league matters. Morrison, a former Southern Conference Commissioner and Wofford College AD, has spent the last four years at TCU (Panthers). In Charlotte, Charles Chandler notes Morrison's resume "doesn't include pro football expertise," but he is a "close friend and former business associate" of Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson. While working at Wofford in the '90s, Morrison "helped put together the sparkling training camp facilities the Panthers enjoy each summer" in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Morrison said that he was "'straightforward' with Richardson in discussing" his lack of NFL experience, but Richardson was "undeterred." Morrison: "Obviously, I have a lot to learn." Chandler notes Morrison has "built a reputation for working well with others and projected a friendly, positive image that fits Richardson's goals for his Panthers employees." Morrison said his hiring "happened very, very quickly." He received an "extremely surprising phone call" last weekend from Richardson, who then "moved swiftly to announce Morrison's hiring" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/3).

IN & OUT: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes Morrison's hiring "comes out of left field." Texas is a "long way to go to find the next team president, and Morrison has absolutely no experience in an NFL front office." But "overall he's a safe choice during this very surprising week." Morrison has the "Wofford connection with Richardson (they both went to school there)," and is a "good businessman." Morrison is "both an outsider and an old friend of the Richardson family, and he can work all that to his advantage" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/3). Meanwhile, the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER'S Tom Sorensen cites sources as indicating that Jerry Richardson met individually with Mark Richardson and Panthers Stadium LLC President Jon Richardson, who also resigned earlier this week, and "delivered the same message" that their "services no longer are required." When two of the "most powerful people in an organization fail to get along, their employees -- and almost everybody but their father technically answered to them -- react" and "take sides." Sorensen: "Whether the Jon-Mark relationship merely made life uncomfortable or whether it affected decisions the franchise made or failed to, we don't know" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/3).

LOSS FOR TCU: In Ft. Worth, Stefan Stevenson notes TCU saw "unparalleled success" during Morrison's four-year tenure as AD, and he was "instrumental in facility improvements the last four years." TCU Associate AD for Development Davis Babb has been named interim AD, and a "national search to replace Morrison is under way" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/3). Also in Ft. Worth, Jim Reeves writes under the header, "Danny Morrison's Exit Is A Big Loss For TCU." It is "hard to blame the guy for grabbing the gold ring when the owner of the Carolina Panthers calls and offers his team's presidency." TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle: "When was the last time a college athletic director was named to run an NFL franchise?" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/3).

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