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Stevenson tabs Morrissey as its new head coach.

Byline: Daily Herald report

Stevenson has named Mike Morrissey as its new head football coach. He becomes the fifth football coach in the history of Stevenson, which opened in 1965. Morrissey also will teach physical education at SHS.

Morrissey, 36, guided Moline High School to a 16-5 record over the last two seasons, winning the Western Big 6 Conference championship twice and reaching the IHSA Class 7A state playoffs each year.

He rejuvenated a Maroons program that had only one winning season in the previous nine years. Moline improved from 2-7 to 7-3 in his first season, then went 9-2 in 2018, reaching the second round of the state playoffs before falling to eventual state semifinalist Batavia.

Morrissey replaces Josh Hjorth, who resigned in November after two seasons at the helm. Hjorth compiled a 12-8 record and reached the Class 8A state playoffs in both seasons.

"My family and I are extremely honored to have the opportunity to be a part of something special here at Stevenson High School," Morrissey said. "Throughout the hiring process it was very clear that the people at Stevenson are what makes it an amazing place for students and teachers alike. Thank you to everyone who has been so accommodating to my family and me during this transition. I'm excited to get started with both the school and football aspect of things! Go Patriots!"

This is the fifth head coaching position for Morrissey, who has guided each of his previous schools to the state playoffs.

His first job came at Thornridge High School in Dolton, where he led the Falcons to a 5-5 record and Class 6A state playoff berth in 2010. During the season, district officials announced plans to turn Thornridge into a freshmen-only academy the next school year.

Morrissey moved on to take the reins at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He led the Hawks for four years (2011-2014), reaching the state playoffs in his final three seasons. Morrissey's 2012 squad went 8-4 and reached the state quarterfinals.

Morrissey moved to Arizona in 2015 after he was named head coach of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale. His offensive coordinator was NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, whose son was a star wide receiver on the team. The Wolves went 6-5 in 2015 and made the state playoffs after finishing 1-9 the previous season. Morrissey returned to the Midwest in 2016, serving as an assistant coach on the Moline staff. He was named Moline's head coach in 2017.

Coaching runs in the Morrissey family. His father, Ed, was inducted into the Iowa High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005. He guided the football program at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa, for 28 seasons, winning a state championship in 1985. Mike played quarterback for his father, leading the Spartans to the state playoffs in 1999 and 2000. Mike's younger brother, Joe, coached United Township High School in East Moline for one season (2016).

Morrissey played quarterback at Upper Iowa University from 2001-05. He graduated from Upper Iowa in 2006 and earned a master's degree in physical education from Rockford College in 2009.

"Mike brings an enthusiasm and energy that are contagious," Stevenson athletic director Trish Betthauser said. "He's a student-centered teacher and coach who is completely invested in developing young men and women. Whether it's the classroom or the field, Mike has shown his commitment to learning and his passion for working with others."

He is no relation to former Stevenson all-state linebacker Mike Morrissey (Class of 2006), who played for Boston College.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U4IA
Date:Feb 13, 2019
Words:596
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