Spartan and NFL Great Jim Morrissey Talks EXCLUSIVELY with Spartan Nation About New Spartan & His Son Matt Morrissey
Q: Jim Morrissey…as of Monday he’s the father of a new Spartan football player, Matt Morrissey. Jim, congratulations.
A: Thank you very much. It’s a great day. Matthew is very excited and obviously Amy and I are very excited, the whole family. So it’s a great day. Thank you.
Q: You and your wife have been incredible role models. You had Matt go out and look at other places even though maybe his heart was in East Lansing. Would you talk about how you handled it?
A: Well, that’s awful nice of you. I appreciate that. I guess it comes down to… I picked my university, my parents let me pick my school. Amy and I kinda felt the same way. He’s the one that’s gonna put all the work in. He’s the one that’s gonna be working there in the summer. He’s the one that’s gonna be working up in the weight room. He’s the one that’s gonna be going to school. So we let all our kids…we have four kids…we let all of them decide where they wanted to go, where they wanted to go to school. They’re gonna be the ones to do the work so we wanted them to be comfortable. We wanted them to look at all aspects of a university and decide for themselves.
Q: Could you talk about encouraging him to look at a lot of other places and not committing right away? Why did you do it?
A: Well as I mentioned, I think if you don’t look around then you’ll never know. He definitely knows the strong suits of Michigan State only because obviously my wife and I went there. You’re right, we have a green and white house and there’s a lot of great things that throughout all the years of him growing up, we’ve been true Spartan fans throughout. I just felt it would be a good idea, and he felt it would be a good idea, to look around and see what’s out there. Knowing that he always knew what was at Michigan State and the terrific coaches there… Mark Dantonio is by far the most upfront and very personable and very nice throughout the whole process. He didn’t push Matt. He didn’t pester Matt. He was kinda the same way…look around. You know what Michigan State’s all about, you know what we’re all about. We really like you but we want you to look around and see if there is another fit for you. And that’s what Matt did. As he was looking around he always knew that Michigan State was one of his favorites. And after looking around it became his favorite. So that’s all you can say. Kids make the decision…he made his decision and he’s extremely happy for it.
Q: I was talking with a Big 10 coach, not a Michigan State coach, and I asked them what they thought was Matt’s biggest strength. They said they think that he’s coachable. Is that attribute something that you and Amy worked on instilling in him or did it come naturally?
A: Well, I think any parent is looking to raise their kids in a manner that is coachable, if you wanna use that word. Again, if you can’t be a coachable player then you’ll not be a valuable player to your team. So obviously there’s a lot of guys on defense as well as offense and everybody has to come together, everybody has to work together. If you’re not coachable then you probably aren’t producing on the field, you’re not probably producing in the classroom and you’re probably not gonna be on the team for too long. Any young man or young lady that wants to be in a team concept should realize that it is a team concept and they should be coachable at all times. So I don’t think that’s a question with Matt. In just talking to a lot of kids there today at Michigan State, they seem very coachable young men and very personable young men. They were a pleasure to be around with today, that’s for sure.
Q: If you were giving advice to parents on handling the recruiting process, what word of advice would you give them?
A: I would just say it’s a long process. It’s a process that could take a year and a half, it could take two years. Obviously the young man or young lady needs to have the love of the game and want the chance to play at a university, get the opportunity to better themselves and become better players, better people. I just think the only advice I could give is let the process come to them. Do whatever you can to help, but let the young man make the decision. Let them pick a university that they’re comfortable with and go from there. There’s so much to select from…you’re looking at the coaches, you’re looking at the university, you’re looking at the programs. It’s a tough decision, but it’s a decision that when it’s all said and done it’s a great decision and great opportunities for these kids.
Q: What was it about Mark Dantonio that you said you can trust your son with him?
A: Well, I’ve known Coach Dantonio for a number of years, only because of being in an alumni group and in the alumni golf outing every year. He’s just a very, very nice man and someone that you can approach. He’s very approachable, down to earth, you can sense that he does care very much for the kids that are on his team, he cares for the coaching staff. Everybody you talk to will basically say the same thing. I knew going into the process for Matt that it was gonna be hard to beat Mark Dantonio, that’s for sure. And he didn’t prove us wrong. He basically said straight-up to Matt, This is a lifelong relationship, it’s not a four year relationship. It’s a relationship that’s gonna take two sides to build and trust. That’s what Matt was looking for. As Matt went through the process he always knew that Michigan State and Mark Dantonio were very strong. So I’m glad that Matt made the decision. He’s excited.
Q: When he said he was done looking and he was ready to be a Spartan, as a Spartan how happy were you?
A: Very happy, obviously very happy. Shane Bullough’s sons has had some great success there. Shane was talking to me about the process and he helped me quite a bit with Matt. He definitely has his two sons playing there now, but Byron will come in the same year as Matt so that’ll be a nice addition. But yeah, I’m obviously very, very excited to see Matt go to Michigan State. My oldest son did play at Boston College, had a great time there and did very well there. There’s something special about Michigan State so obviously when Matt decided to go there it was special news to Amy and I, that’s for sure.
Q: My hat is off to you and your lovely wife, Amy. You did an excellent job of letting the process be about Matt and not about you and Amy.
Q: Thank you very much. That’s awful nice. I appreciate your time.