Carolina Panthers president Danny Morrison has resigned his post to pursue interests at the college level, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
Morrison, the former athletics director at TCU and Wofford and one-time Southern Conference commissioner, joined the Panthers in 2009 as owner Jerry Richardson’s top lieutenant.
Morrison took over after Richardson’s sons, including former team president Mark Richardson, abruptly resigned two weeks before the 2009 opener.
There’s no perfect time, especially in a football calendar where it’s year-round. But this was the best time. It’s a difficult decision obviously, but the time was right.
Panthers president Danny Morrison, who resigned on Thursday
Morrison’s responsibilities were more related to the business side of the organization rather than football operations. His resignation caught Panthers officials – and people outside the organization – by surprise.
Morrison said he’s been thinking about stepping down for a while. With the league year beginning next month, he thought the timing was good to move on.
“But the reality is there’s no perfect time, especially in a football calendar where it’s year-round,” Morrison told the Observer. “But this was the best time. It’s a difficult decision obviously, but the time was right.”
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In the Panthers’ release announcing Morrison’s resignation he was quoted as saying he wanted to pursue other endeavors, “particularly on the college level,” as “a final chapter in my career.”
But Morrison declined to discuss his future plan in a phone interview Thursday evening.
If Morrison’s interested in an AD job at the college level, UNLV and Arizona both have openings.
Morrison, 63, said it was his decision to resign, adding: “You can’t work for a better organization.”
The Panthers did not announce a replacement for Morrison, who was instrumental in the renovations at Bank of America Stadium and played a pivotal role in improving the Panthers’ training camp facilities at Wofford.
Morrison was on the board of the Charlotte Sports Foundation and was part of that group’s bid to host the college football championship game. He also was involved in discussions concerning the Belk Bowl, as well as the ACC title game before it was pulled from Charlotte over HB2.
Sports Foundation director Will Webb said he was “stunned” when he heard Morrison was resigning.
“Danny has been a wonderful person to work with,” Webb said. “My understanding is he was brought in during a difficult time in the Panthers history because he was close with Mr. Richardson.”
Morrison was in Houston last week for Super Bowl activities in one of his last appearances in an official capacity with the Panthers.
“It’s been a wonderful run,” he said. “I love the people in this organization and have enjoyed working with everyone. Hopefully we’ve made good progress over that time.”
Morrison, a Burlington native, played basketball at Wofford in the 1970s and became familiar with Richardson, a former Terriers’ football player.
Morrison was Wofford’s AD in 1993 when the Panthers were awarded an NFL franchise, and spearheaded the school’s fundraising efforts to refurbish the football facilities to host the Panthers’ training camp.
Richardson praised Morrison’s transition from college administrator to NFL executive.
“Danny has made significant contributions to the Panthers over the last seven years and provided guidance to our business operations. He came to us from a college background and learned the NFL quickly,” Richardson said in a release. “Danny has great integrity and embodies our core values. We thank him for his contributions and wish him the best.”
Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson
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