Athletic director of marketing brings hype

Johnathan Ferris
Staff writer

 

People may have seen Morris White around campus. They’d know him if they saw him. He would likely be running around screaming at people to come to sporting events, or he might

Photo by Ryan Richardson/The News

be imploring them to stand up and cheer at a basketball pep rally, only to call them out if they so much as think about sitting down. He might even do his trademark backflip for them.

However, there is more to White than a loud personality and an obsession with Murray State sports.

White was hired in July as the new Athletic Director of Marketing and Promotions. He comes to Murray from his alma mater, Northwest Missouri State University, where he worked in the same capacity.

“I was fortunate enough to receive a football scholarship to Northwest Missouri State University to play wide receiver,” White said. “Once I graduated I did an internship similar to the I-Racers here and after my year internship was over the director of sports marketing and promotions opened up at Northwest Missouri and I applied and got it and I worked there for five years before coming here.”

White graduated with a degree in psychology and a double minor in health education and speech communication.

“I really thought I wanted to be a sports psychologist, or at least something in athletics,” White said. “In addition to that I got my master’s degree in athletic administration, and after I did my year-long internship, I fell in love with what I was doing. It came natural to me to get the crowd hyped and to think of ideas to engage the fans.”

As he continues on in his second job as a Director of Sports Marketing and Promotions, White, who has played football since the age of 10, said he is a fan at heart.

“I am really just a fan of sports,” White said. “I played football and basketball and ran track and field in high school and still hold a few records. Really I just love sports; I will watch gymnastics, hockey, cricket and baseball, nearly anything with a sports origin.”

His job includes adapting to change, he said.

“No two days are the same, which is what I absolutely love about it,” White said. “One week we can have as many as four or five events, or we may have a week where nothing is going on.”

As White works in the athletic department, his job carries many responsibilities. He says his main focus is to simply get people to Murray State athletic events. Additionally, he strives to make sure those who come to events have a great time.

One of White’s main goals for this year is getting the new student cheering section, The Stampede, up and going.

“We just want the students to come to the games and have fun,” White says. “Whether you’re 5 or 55 years old, we want you to stomp your feet and clap your hands and just have fun with everyone at Racer athletics.”

White said he strives to learn as much as he can and be good at everything he does. His main inspiration is his mother.

“My mother has always been my rock and motivation to succeed in life,” White said. “Everything I do from the time I wake up every day is for her, because I want her to see me succeed at the highest level. There’s nothing like hearing your parent tell you they’re proud of you. All of the credit definitely goes to my mother.”

Then, of course, there is White’s trademark backflip. He uses his gymnastic skills to get fans excited at athletic events, yet has no formal background in gymnastics.

“I’ve never done cheerleading or gymnastics or anything like that,” White said. “I just learned how to tumble growing up with friends in the neighborhood. I’ve always been active and it just kind of came naturally to me when I practiced with friends after school and in the summers.”

White said he is excited about Murray State athletics and looks forward to seeing every Murray State student at basketball games this winter.

Contact Ferris.