Morrison, 52, Dies of Heart Attack : South Carolina Coach, Ex-Giant Star Collapses After Racquetball Game

<i> Associated Press</i>

Joe Morrison, head football coach at South Carolina and a star for the New York Giants during the 1960s, died Sunday night of a heart attack.

Morrison, 52, had been playing racquetball at the university and was found collapsed in the shower, Providence Hospital spokeswoman Dawn Catalano said.

“He was not feeling well, apparently went to the shower and was found in the shower collapsed when they started CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on him,” she said.

She said Morrison was alive, but unconscious, when he was brought to the hospital at 8:44 p.m. EST. He was pronounced dead at 9:03 p.m.


Ricky Diggs, South Carolina’s running back coach, saw Morrison just hours before his death.

“He seemed fine,” Diggs said. “He was upbeat, spirited and so forth. Racquetball is one of his biggest pastimes when he has the chance to get some exercise. It just came as a big 7shock to everyone. It never even crossed my mind that anything like this could happen.”

Catalano said Morrison, who played for the Giants from 1959 to 1972 as a running back and tight end, had a history of heart problems and previously was hospitalized for that condition.

Morrison previously coached at Tennessee Chattanooga and New Mexico. His career record was 101-72-7 over 16 seasons.


He was 39-28-2 in six seasons at South Carolina, including 8-4 in 1988, when he took the Gamecocks to the the Liberty Bowl, where they lost to Indiana 34-10.

Morrison was the 1984 Walter Camp national coach of the year after South Carolina went 10-2, losing to Oklahoma State, 21-14, in the Gator Bowl.

He was born on Aug. 21, 1937, and grew up in Lima, Ohio. At Cincinnati, he set school records in scoring, passing and rushing and twice was named to the All Missouri Valley Conference team.