In the 2010’s, Cole Morris was one of the more memorable athletes to hail from Clarion County. Whether it was catching deep balls on the gridiron, or scoring over 1,000 points on the basketball court, Morris proved his versatility and athleticism time and time again.
The Rimersburg native scored 1,326 career points for the Knights in his career in addition to being a member of the 2014 football team that won the program’s first-ever District 9 playoff game. Not only did they win that playoff game, but they also beat the number one overall seed in class A that season in District 9, Ridgway.
Though that was in his junior season, Morris continued his scrappy and wirey play in his senior season and led Union to a state playoff berth in basketball. He also averaged 18.2 points, 6.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.7 steals per contest on his way to a D9 All-Second Team selection in the 2015-16 season. Morris was a coveted athlete by various college coaches in both football and basketball, but he started his college career at Allegheny College playing football.
Though he just played one lone season, Morris was finding time more as the season progressed on special teams, as a defensive back, and later as a blitzing and cover linebacker. Though Morris is a smaller-built guy, he was putting the work in to get his body right to play linebacker in college season number two. Then, life presented itself with a different opportunity.
Some unfortunate circumstances arose for Morris, but he bounced back and enrolled at Penn State DuBois to study business and play collegiate basketball. The Nittany Lions underwhelmed in his first two years, winning fifteen games in two years. However, last season saw the team winning 13 games and falling just one spot from the PSUAC playoffs.
In the process, they beat the reigning USCAA National Champions Penn State Wilkes-Barre, 64-62. This win signified a huge turnaround that Morris helped lead and one of his favorite memories from his time as an athlete.
Though the Clarion County native has put in the work to become the athlete he is today, he admits he could not have done it alone. One of his biggest mentors in life and sports is Clarion Rising Stars coach/owner Rogers Laugand.
“I started playing Rising Stars in 6th grade, and I was a football player first when they got me to join. Coach Laugand helped mold me into a basketball player and a better overall athlete. What he does for this area and community is incredible.”
Two others he lists as influential in his life are his cousins Dylan and Dugan Gallagher.
“Growing up, we played every sport we could together. We were always outside competing, and it made us all better athletes and competitors.”
From a short conversation with Morris, he is really proud of where he comes from and what some of the teams he was involved with in high school were able to do.
“I think my proudest moment was watching Karns City walk out onto the football field with about 60 guys, and we had 16 dressed. We never gave in and never gave up. I had one of my best games that day, but that game was a testament to the type of athlete I want to be and also the Union mentality.”
Another thing that stands out when talking with Morris is how proud he is of his younger brother, Caden Rainey. Rainey is a member of the AC Valley/Union co-op in football, a co-op that both schools have truly benefited from in football.
“I am so proud of him for how hard he plays. I think he is going to have a big senior season in football next year.”
In May of 2021, Morris will be graduating with a degree in business and hopes to make coaching or athletics a part of his future.
“I just do not see myself doing anything else,” Morris said. “Sports is all I have ever done, and I just do not (want) my life to ever go without them.”
His dream job is to be an athletic director, but also admits coaching peaks his interest as well.
Whatever is next for Cole Morris, he is going to bring that nose to the grindstone attitude with him. The attributes that make him successful in sports will be the same ones that make him successful in life. Morris is one of the top KSAC and D9 athletes from the 2010’s and soon will find out what the next chapter in life looks like.