Former Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison is joining University of South Carolina as a professor of practice in USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. Morrison, who holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from USC, will begin his new role as a faculty member in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management on August 16.
During his time as a successful NFL executive, the Panthers sold out every home game, renovated Bank of America Stadium, set training camp attendance records, won three consecutive NFC South division championships, had an NFL season best 15-1 record in 2015 and made an appearance in Super Bowl 50. After eight years as president of the Panthers, Morrison decided to resign in February 2017 so that he could return to a role in a college setting. University of South Carolina was a perfect fit.
“It was an easy decision to choose USC,” Morrison said. “The sport management program is respected as one of the best in the country. I was always impressed by the caliber of students from the program who came to work for the Panthers, and the faculty and quality of work they are doing is excellent. I’m excited to take it full circle and join them in the classroom.”
University of South Carolina is ranked first in the nation for sport sciences according to the 2016 Shanghai Rankings. The college’s sport and entertainment management undergraduate degree programs are ranked third in the United States and fifth globally in the most recent rankings from Sport Business International. The rankings also list USC’s Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management among the top 10 postgraduate courses in North America.
“Having Dr. Morrison join our college is a strong statement about how our program is competing at the highest level,” said Haemoon Oh, Dean of USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. “With his stellar career and background in education, he will be an integral part of our college’s ongoing initiatives to infuse students’ education with industry knowledge and leadership mentoring.”
Before taking the reins in Charlotte, Morrison served as director of athletics at Texas Christian University, as commissioner of the NCAA’s Southern Conference and as director of athletics and senior vice president at Wofford College. He began his career as a high school math teacher and basketball coach in North Carolina before moving to Elon College as a math instructor, assistant basketball coach, head tennis coach and assistant athletic director.
“We’re excited to have Dr. Morrison join our faculty,” said USC Sport and Entertainment Management Department Chair Matt Brown. “His position, along with last year’s hiring of Susan O’Malley, gives our students the opportunity to learn from former team presidents from three of the five major North American professional sports leagues. Our department’s blend of former industry professionals and leading academics enables our students to learn theory and practice like no other program in the nation.”
Morrison is one of the few professors of practice that South Carolina has appointed. The specialized position is designed for individuals who can teach from exceptional professional expertise, but Dr. Morrison’s Ph.D. and background in academia make him a particularly rare candidate.
In addition to his doctorate, Morrison earned his B.A. in mathematics from Wofford College and his M.Ed. in administration and supervision from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Morrison says he is looking forward to getting back to one of his alma maters and to his love for education.
“There’s nothing like being around students,” Morrison said. “Learning goes both ways, so it is a real opportunity for me to learn from the students and also from the wonderful faculty.”
Morrison said he hopes his variety of experiences in a 42-year career in sports and education will be a benefit to his students.
He also said he plans to impart a lesson stressed often throughout the Panthers franchise.
“Hard work, harmony, teamwork, listen, respect – those are the values the Panthers organization lives by and they are fundamentals that can be applied to any organization,” he said.