John Morrison is entering his 12th year as the head coach of the Navy women’s swimming program, as well as his 16th year of being associated with the team, in the fall of 2015.
Morrison and the Mids have tallied a record of 84-18 –– which includes two undefeated seasons –– with six first-place and three second-place showings at the Patriot League Championship over the last nine seasons. In all, Morrison has guided the Mids to a 100-28 record and either first (six) or second-place finishes at the Patriot League meet 10 times in his 11 seasons. He has been tabbed as the Patriot League Coach of the Year five times and as the ECAC Coach of the Year three times.
Last year saw Navy post the program’s 26th victory in a row over Army –– the longest winning streak in the series in any sport –– and a 7-3 record on the year. The lone losses on the season came to Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Penn State. The Mids ran their streak of consecutive Patriot League titles won to four –– as well as well their fifth in six years –– with their performance at the 2015 championship. Navy totaled 13 swimming event titles over the course of the meet to earn its league-best 14th team championship in 24 seasons. Navy would go on to place second at the ECAC Championship. Morrison himself was selected as the coach of the year after both championship meets.
The Mids compiled a 5-4 record during the 2013-14 regular season, with their three losses coming to nationally-ranked Virginia, Penn State and North Carolina teams. In addition to winning the Patriot League crown, Navy also won the ECAC Championship Meet.
One year prior (2012-13), Navy posted a 7-3 record during the regular season on its way to winning the Patriot League title. Three of the team’s four losses were to North Carolina, Virginia and Penn State, teams that went on to place 12th, 18th and 29th, respectively, at the NCAA Championship.
The 2012-13 season came one year after the Mids scored a league-record 933.5 points to win the program’s 10th Patriot League title in 2012, won its first ECAC championship and qualified a trio of Mids for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
The 2009-10 season was a record-breaking campaign for the Mids. After posting a 10-1 record during the regular season, with Navy’s lone loss coming to No. 11 Virginia, the Mids totaled 14 event victories on their way to winning the Patriot League title for the first time in three years. Additionally, 2010 graduates Tara Chapmon and Thuy-Mi Dinh made their second and third, respectively, appearances at the NCAA Championship in 2010.
Navy also posted the program’s first undefeated season during the 2008-09 campaign, part of a winning streak that would span to 25 meets before the aforementioned loss to the Cavaliers in the 2009-10 season.
Individually, a Navy swimmer has earned at least a share of nine league swimmer-of-the-year accolades during Morrison’s 11 years, while the Mids have won a league-best 99 swimming event titles at the Patriot League Championship –– the remainder of the league has won 102 event titles –– under Morrison’s guidance.
The program also has made strides at national events during Morrison’s tenure. Navy swimmers are regular participants in U.S. Swimming meets such as the USA Short Course National Championship, ConocoPhillips National Championship and the World Championship Trials. The 2008 season saw Dinh become the first women’s swimmer in Patriot League history to attain an ‘A’ cut qualifying time for the NCAA Championship, then she and Chapmon advanced to the national meet in both 2009 and ‘10. Laura Gorinski then competed in a trio of individual events at the NCAA Championship when she did so in the 2012 edition of the meet.
In addition to the team’s success in the water, the program under Morrison has been regularly recognized as an Academic All-America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America and has accounted for 97 placings on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll over the last 11 seasons. These recipients include Kelly Zahalka, Gorinski and Ellen Bradford, all of whom have been selected as the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their sport.
Morrison’s hiring in 2004 returned him to The Yard where he served as an assistant coach to Dick Purdy for four seasons beginning in the fall of 1993. The Purdy-Morrison duo coached the Mids to a 33-14 record and to league titles during each of its four years together.
After leaving Navy following the 1996-97 school year, Morrison served as a volunteer assistant men’s coach at Tennessee during the 1997-98 season in which the Volunteers placed fourth at the NCAA Championship, followed by one year as an assistant at Rutgers. After serving as the head coach and aquatics director at the Ocean County YMCA in his hometown of Toms River, N.J., for two years starting in 1999, he was named as the head swimming coach at Lehigh in 2001. Morrison coached the Mountain Hawks to a combined 31-27 record during his three seasons in Bethlehem, a period highlighted by the men’s team winning the 2002 Patriot League title.
A successful athlete in his own right, Morrison earned four letters in swimming and in golf while a student-athlete at Toms River High School and was selected as a member of the school’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in the spring of 2004. He would go on to earn four letters in swimming at North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels win a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference titles in the process.
Morrison would enter the coaching ranks in 1991 as an assistant swimming coach at Washington & Lee where he helped coach four NCAA Division III All-Americans. He also assisted with the school’s 1992 water polo team that won the Division III Eastern Championship and served as the interim golf coach.
Morrison and his wife, Amy, have a 16-year-old son, John, and a 12-year-old daughter, Avery Grace.