After an eventful four years as St. Anthony High athletic director, Chris Morrison is ready for his next challenge. Morrison has accepted the AD position at Verbum Dei High in Los Angeles, where he’ll look to revive a storied athletics program.
Morrison graduated from St. Anthony in the Class of ‘91, and also had a stint as a teacher and a coach on campus before returning as athletic director in 2019. He saw the school through a tumultuous four-year period that was deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also included some notable coaching hires and the completed renovations at Clark Field.
“I was able to come back here and do some great things with the sports programs, grow the sports programs, and make them more visible,” said Morrison of his tenure. “I hired some great coaches from the Long Beach area and put my stamp on my neighborhood. I’m from Long Beach, I went to school here and I’m a graduate. So to see that field being built, that was one of the main reasons why I came here–to make sure it got built.”
During his time as AD, Morrison oversaw some terrific success stories. After hiring Raul Lara to lead the football program, the Saints reached a CIF title game in 2021. The softball program made school history in 2022 with a CIF State SoCal Regional championship, and remains one of the top programs on campus.
Morrison also made some key hires inside Jack Errion Gym, recruiting Keli Pula to run the girls’ volleyball program while also hiring Alan Mitchell as boys’ basketball coach, where the Saints have had one of the top programs in Long Beach for the past decade.
Morrison hopes that whoever replaces him will bring passion to the job and continue moving St. Anthony Athletics in a positive direction.
“One thing I did is I made sure I went out and supported every program on campus, so no matter what team was playing, home or away, I showed up to their games,” Morrison said. “So I think having that passion and drive to continue making the sports great, and supporting the coaches, the support that you give them goes a long way. And if you keep supporting them and making sure that everything is taken care of for them, then the sports teams here will thrive.”
Now the next task for Morrison will be at Verbum Dei, which will be his third stop as an athletic director. Morrison was the AD at St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey before returning to his alma mater, and now he’ll take over an Eagles program with a rich athletic history.
“It’s a school that has been underserved for the past 10 years or more, and it's a school that needed my help,” said Morrison of taking the job at Verbum Dei. “Being in the Catholic school world over the past 10-15 years or so, it was one of those schools that I always said if I had a chance, I would love to go there and try and resurrect that program to make it something special.”