Paul Krome | @paulkrome
Bill Morrill Jr. bridges the gap in one of lacrosse’s most prominent families.
Morrill, a three-time All-American attackman at Johns Hopkins in the 1950s, embodies the legacy that began with his late father and fellow National Hall of Famer William Kelso Morrill, who won national championships as a player and coach with the Blue Jays.
Morrill Jr. also can detail the careers of sons Billy III and Mike, All-Americans at Penn and Johns Hopkins, respectively. And he can laugh about his eight grandchildren ignoring his advice on the field.
But familial pride is not all you hear when speaking with 75-year-old Bill Morrill. When he said, “Michael making the U.S. national team in 1990 and ‘94 was the greatest of the Morrill accomplishments in lacrosse,” he spoke volumes not only about the family, but also about the impact of one of US Lacrosse’s most visible programs.
“The movie ‘Miracle’ included a lot about the tryouts for that team,” Morrill said in reference to the 2004 drama that chronicled the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team’s upset of the Soviet Union in the Olympics.
“It struck me then how great it was that Mike got that spot.”
Mike played attack on two NCAA champion Blue Jay teams in the 1980s. He helped the U.S. win world championships in Perth, Australia, in 1990 and in Manchester, England, four years later.
“Being able to play with the greatest ever to play — guys you always heard about as legends, and now they’re your teammates. They were all great guys,” Mike Morrill said. “I wasn’t expecting how much it meant to me to put on the Team USA jersey and hear our anthem before the game. We were representing our country.”
Mike played for the U.S. teams prior to the 1998 inception of US Lacrosse as the sport’s national governing body. Today’s national teams benefit from the workload of full-time US Lacrosse staff that provides administrative and fundraising support.
In part to honor and support Mike’s national team career and those of current and future players, Bill Morrill has been a longtime donor to the US Lacrosse Foundation, the philanthropic arm of US Lacrosse, providing financial support to the U.S. national teams.
“The high point of lacrosse in the U.S. is when we put a national team together and prove how good we are,” Bill Morrill said. “It’s one of most important things we can do from a lacrosse standpoint.”
Morrill is one of several thousand donors to the US Lacrosse Foundation, which generates financial support above that provided by US Lacrosse membership and sponsorship. Donations to the foundation help to fund several US Lacrosse programs, including the administration of national teams that compete in the Federation of International Lacrosse.
“Bill Morrill could not have achieved all he did in lacrosse without exhibiting great leadership, something he still shows today as a financial supporter of the U.S. national teams,” said Susie Chase, managing director of the US Lacrosse Foundation. “We’re grateful to him and others like him who help to provide the resources for our teams to compete internationally, to serve as ambassadors for US Lacrosse around the world, and to be role models for our youth.”
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