Canon McMillan educator inducted into Bethel Park Hall of Fame

Pictured: Eric Morrison poses for a picture with two of his former baseball coaches. Photo Credit: Eleanor Bailey
Posted On: Wednesday, December 14, 2022

This article was written and released by Eleanor Bailey of the Almanac. The original article can be found by clicking here.

Pictured: Eric Morrison poses for a picture with two of his former baseball coaches, Mike Wilson and Eddie McCloskey. Morrison played college ball for Wilson at Duquesne University. McCloskey was Morrison's first coach at the age of 9. Photo Credit: Eleanor Bailey

Eric Morrison earns a paycheck from the Canon-McMillan School District but the physical education teacher owes a debt of gratitude to the educational system at Bethel Park

“Don’t tell the Big Macs,” Morrison said, “but I still root for the Black Hawks even though I teach at Canon-Mac. I’m proud to wear the black and the orange."

On an evening when Bethel Park defeated the Big Macs in boys basketball, 62-47, Morrison was inducted into his alma mater’s Hall of Fame. On Dec. 9, he was enshrined with four other standout athletes and one distinguished contributor.

A 2004 BPHS graduate, Morrison earned three letters in soccer but he excelled in baseball. A two-time member of the Almanac/OR and Post-Gazette all-star squads, he helped the Black Hawks reach the 2003 state finals.

Morrison went on to play at Duquesne University. He started four years in center field.

Morrison also played professionally in the Intercontinental Baseball League. He was inducted into the semipro baseball Hall of Fame.

That enshrinement paled in comparison with his recent scholastic honor.

“As a student, I could remember walking through building six and taking the time to stop and read the plaques on the wall, reading about these incredible athletes that came through BP,” Morrison said. “It didn’t hit me again until I walked into the gym and looked at the new trophy cases and realized that ‘wow, I’m there with that group.' I am completely honored and humbled to be with all of them now.”

Morrison acknowledged that he did not earn the distinction on his own.

For starters, his coaches helped tremendously. In his acceptance speech, he noted every one of his high school mentors.

The soccer coaches taught him discipline and toughness, especially during grueling training camps and practices where he thought he was on a cross country team instead of a soccer club because of all the running.

The baseball coaches cemented BP’s tradition of winning — the Black Hawks are two-time defending PIAA champions — and provided leadership for life by teaching him to do things right, especially the little things.

Ironically, coaches from Mt. Lebanon altered his life as an athlete as well as a man.

At age 9, Morrison started working with Eddie McCloskey, whom he dubbed the ultimate teacher of the game. Thanks to McCloskey, he honed his batting skills and learned how to hit the curveball.

“I really look up to Coach McCloskey and I try to follow in his footsteps as a teacher and a coach,” Morrison said. “I hope I can provide a fun and positive environment for my students as he did for me.”

Thanks to Coach Wilson, Morrison took his game to a whole new level at Duquesne.

“He believed in me more than anybody that I played for,” Morrison said of Wilson. “The life lessons that I learned from him, I still hold dearly.”

Morrison also praised Bill Torre, who flew in to share in the celebration with his former college roommate,

“I was touched by that,” Morrison said. “B.T. and I worked every day together and we pushed each other to the limit. I really believe that I was a better player because he forced me to be better. We accomplished some pretty cool things together.”

Without his family, Morrison could accomplish nothing. He recalled how his mother, Nancy, got him to every game. She drove through dense fog in Columbus; through the wee hours to arrive at 3 a.m. at the University of Kentucky.

“We saw the country together,” he said. “She even allowed me to hit baseballs on the porch. Of course, there were broken windows.”

No matter how difficult the work day, Scott Morrison always played catch with his son. In fact, Morrison played outfield because of his father. Dad also always attended all his son’s games.

“Seeing my parents at the games meant the world to me. They always supported me and sacrificed so that I could chase down my goals. My parents, especially my dad, also taught me how to work hard and never quit.”

Morrison said he would not have succeeded without three other members of this family.

His siblings, Stacey and Brian, served as role models. “They taught me how to treat people right and I still look up to them today,” he said.

His wife, Kelly, is everything to Morrison. The two are expecting. “I hope we can provide our daughter with the same opportunities as I was blessed to have,” he concluded.

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