John's Journal
Radio Legend Mike Morrissey Leaves Lasting Legacy 11/30/2015
Anyone who has listened to radio play-by-play of high school and small-college sports in southern Minnesota has surely heard the voice of Mike Morrissey. For decades he called the action on KDHL in Faribault.

Mike has died at age 75. I was proud to call Mike a good friend. We sat side-by-side at state basketball tournaments for years and I always enjoyed chatting on the air with Mike at halftime or between games. Mike broadcast state basketball tournaments games for 44 years before retiring in 2013. He also was the voice of St. Olaf College athletics and it's estimated that he did play-by-play for approximately 3,500 high school and college basketball games.

Here's an item I wrote about Mike during the 2013 boys state basketball tourney...

When the 2014 boys state basketball tournament is held, something will be very different along press row. Mike Morrissey of KDHL radio in Faribault has made play-by-play calls of every tournament but one since 1968. That’s 45 years, and that’s how legends are made. The 2013 tournament is his last one before retiring.

Mike is truly a legend. He has been the voice of St. Olaf College, a fixture in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and he is a member of Minnesota Coaches Halls of Fame in three sports (football, basketball and baseball).

Mike missed one tournament long ago when he took a radio job in Nebraska. He returned to Minnesota pretty quickly, however. “I was too far away from civilization,” he said.

Mike, 72, will be spending next winter in Florida. He has promised me that he will send me emails during the 2014 tournament, describing warm breezes and the umbrella in his drink.

Thank you, Mike, for being a gentleman, a true professional and a good friend.
Girls Basketball Rankings From Minnesota Basketball News11/25/2015
1. Hopkins
2. Minnetonka
3. Elk River
4. Eastview
5. Edina
6. Centennial
7. White Bear Lake
8. Shakopee
9. Park Center
10. Rochester Mayo
11. St. Michael-Albertville
12. Rochester John Marshall
13. Lakeville South
14. Anoka
15. Lakeville North
16. Osseo
17. Eden Prairie
18. Andover
19. Rosemount
20. Maple Grove

1. Orono
2. Winona
3. Bloomington Kennedy
4. Hutchinson
5. Thief River Falls
6. Marshall
7. Kasson-Mantorville
8. Alexandria
9. St. Paul Como Park
10. Mahtomedi
11. DeLaSalle
12. Hill-Murray
13. Totino-Grace
14. Holy Angels
15. Willmar
16. Waconia
17. Chisago Lakes Area
18. Simley
19. Grand Rapids
20. Fridley

1. Dover-Eyota
2. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
3. Sauk Centre
4. Annandale
5. Roseau
6. Pequot Lakes
7. New London-Spicer
8. Minnehaha
9. St. Croix Lutheran
10. Esko
11. Watertown-Mayer
12. Glencoe-Silver Lake
13. St. Peter
14. Minnewaska
15. Kenyon-Wanamingo
16. Pipestone
17. Pelican Rapids
18. Barnum
19. Norwood-Young America
20. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

1. Mountain Iron-Buhl
2. Maranatha Christian Academy
3. Lyle-Austin Pacelli
4. Browerville
5. Ada-Borup
6. Goodhue
7. Win-E-Mac
8. Mankato Loyola
9. Cromwell
10. Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity
11. Sleepy Eye
12. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross
13. Canby
14. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo
15. Fosston
16. Stephen-Argyle
17. Cherry
18. GHEC
19. Red Lake
20. Floodwood
Girls Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey11/24/2015
1 Hill-Murray (8)
2 Minnetonka (2)
3 Edina
4 Wayzata
5 Eden Prairie
6 Maple Grove
7 Elk River/Zimmerman
8 Blaine
9 Lakeville South
10 Cretin-Derham Hall
11 Chaska/Chanhassen
12 Dodge County
13 Roseau
14 Lakeville North
15 Buffalo
16 Centennial
17 Mounds View
18 White Bear Lake
19 Stillwater Area
20 Eagan

1 Blake (9)
2 Thief River Falls (1)
3 Breck
4 St. Paul United
5 Warroad
6 East Grand Forks
7 Proctor/Hermantown
8 Red Wing
9 New Prague
10 Orono
11 Alexandria
12 Mound Westonka
13 South St. Paul
14 Hutchinson
15 Hibbing/Chisholm
16 New Ulm
17 Mahtomedi
18 Northfield
19 Princeton
20 Owatonna
Boys Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey11/24/2015
1 Eden Prairie (8)
2 Lakeville North (2)
3 Grand Rapids
4 Hill-Murray
5 Wayzata
6 Edina
7 Duluth East
8 Blaine
9 Benilde-St. Margaret's
10 Bemidji
11 St. Thomas Academy
12 Minnetonka
13 Elk River/Zimmerman
14 Stillwater Area
15 Prior Lake
16 Holy Family Catholic
17 Farmington
18 Centennial
19 Bloomington Jefferson
20 Moorhead

1 Hermantown (8)
2 Breck
3 East Grand Forks (2)
4 St. Paul Academy
5 St. Cloud Apollo
6 Mahtomedi
7 Delano/Rockford
8 Luverne
9 St. Cloud Cathedral
10 Hibbing/Chisholm
11 Thief River Falls
12 Fergus Falls
13 Orono
14 Duluth Denfeld
15 Alexandria
16 New Prague
17 St. Paul Johnson
18 Warroad
19 Sartell-St. Stephen
20 Mankato West
Coming Together And Celebrating Special Moments 11/21/2015
The 2015 fall season came to an end with two pretty spectacular sights. They were simple acts that said everything about sportsmanship as well as the spirit of high school activities, and they deserve to be mentioned here.

The first took place Friday evening at the girls state swimming and diving championships. After two days of competition, the team from Wayzata had captured its third consecutive team title. The top three teams walk onto the awards stand, receive their trophies and pose for photos. As the second-place team from Minnetonka left the podium, they were greeted by a human tunnel of swimmers and divers from Wayzata.

Many of the girls on those teams know each other through high school competition and swim clubs, so it probably wasn’t a surprise that the Wayzata athletes and coaches honored the Skippers by reaching up to hold hands, form a tunnel and cheer as the Skippers passed through. It was a way to honor friends and competitors in a very human and very fun manner.

One day later, after the final event of the fall MSHSL season, came another spectacular sight. North Suburban and Park Center had played to a scoreless tie at the end of regulation in the adapted soccer CI division state championship game. Midway through a 10-minute regulation period, Park Center’s Phillip Worzie scored a goal to give his team the state title.

As is done in all MSHSL tournaments, the all-tournament team was announced and trophies and medals were awarded individually to players, managers and coaches from both teams. That’s when something special happened.

The athletes from Park Center and North Suburban came together at the center of the court at Stillwater High School in one big huddle. They posed for photos together, then raised their hands in the air in the middle of the huddle and yelled these words together: “One! Two! Three! FRIENDS!”

That says everything you need to know about what high school activities are all about. It’s easy to get caught up in who beat who, who benefitted from an official’s call, who tried to find a shortcut in the rules, etc.

The fall season has been memorable for me as I traveled all over the state to document what takes place in our great state. There were quiet moments that I didn’t write or Tweet about; teammates embracing after a tough loss, grandparents sitting together on metal bleachers and shivering on cold nights in order to watch their grandkids compete, cheerleaders working as hard as the other athletes, volunteers taking tickets and working at concessions stands, smiling all the way.

From the heat of August practices to the warmth of swimming pools and gyms in November, this has been an autumn to remember.

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 318
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,951
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn