On the surface it may appear that Terry Morris has had a perfect career as quarterback for Miami of Ohio (8-3), which will play San Jose State (9-2) in the California Bowl Dec. 13 at Fresno.
Morris, the former Granite Hills High School and Grossmont College quarterback, transferred to a Mid-American Conference school that had not won a title since 1977. He led it to a second-place finish his first season and the conference title and a bowl berth his second year. And in the process Morris set or tied 12 school records.
As easy as pie right? Wrong.
For Morris the hurdles did not come on the field, but off.
He was the first community college player to transfer to Miami, Ohio, where he assumed he would sit on the bench his first year.
But when the coaching staff decided to play Morris after the third game of his junior season, things got real lonely for the out-of-towner.
"There were a couple times I was ready to quit," Morris said. "I phoned home and said, 'Dad, I'm going to finish school at SDSU and get my degree.' There was nobody to eat with. Nobody would associate with me. It got kind of rough. But I think in the long run it made me a better person.
"My dad told me to stick with it. I'll never forget him saying that. I owe an awful lot to that man."
And so does Miami, Ohio.
Although he has played in only 18 games, Morris has set 11 school passing records and tied one. He has single-game records for completions (26) and attempts (43), yards passing (321), total offense (312) and touchdowns passing (tied with 4).
Morris' single-season marks are: completions (193), attempts (308), yards passing (2,365), touchdowns passing (19) and total offense (2,300). He has also set career records for pass completions (314) and yards passing (3,831).
The quarterback Morris replaced had led the team to victories the final four games the season before and was popular among his teammates. So when Morris took over the offense his teammates had trouble adjusting.
"There was a lot of resentment on the team at first," Morris said. "It was like, 'Who is this new guy?' "
But after Morris proved himself on the field, there was an improvement in player relations.
"By then they started to like me a little more," said Morris, who was voted the team most valuable player at a banquet last week. "They understood it wasn't my decision. I was the first JC player they ever had. I don't blame them."
If San Diego State defeats Brigham Young University Saturday, three former Grossmont League rivals will be in bowl games. Jim Plum, who played at Helix High and is the backup quarterback for SDSU, would be in the Holiday Bowl; Jeff Van Raaphorst, who played at Grossmont High, has led Arizona State to the Rose Bowl, and Morris, who played at Granite Hills High, leads Miami, Ohio, to the California Bowl.
Christian Heritage College in El Cajon put its new athletic program on the right track with a 98-44 men's basketball victory over Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College Friday. It was the first athletic contest in the school's 17-year history.
Christian Heritage, with an enrollment of 427, shares its campus with Christian High School. The college competes in NAIA District III and offers only men's basketball, but plans call for more sports, said Jim Huckaby, basketball coach and athletic director.
"We'll keep adding," Huckaby said. "We don't have a timetable established."
Huckaby said the college has blueprints for a proposed athletic facility ready to go. The Convocation Center will feature three full-court basketball courts.
Huckaby is familiar with building athletic programs. He helped build a program from scratch at The Masters College, formerly L.A. Baptist, in 1960. Later, he helped build programs at Western Baptist College and Baptist Bible College of Pennyslvania, where he has coached basketball the past 18 years.
When Huckaby arrived at Christian Heritage he found that the school had already hired him an assistant. But Huckaby said he didn't mind. His assistant? Swen Nater, the former San Diego Clipper.
Christian Heritage, which plays most of its games at Grossmont College, plays host to Life College Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. in its home opener.
When UC San Diego took the field against defending national champion North Carolina Greensboro in the championship match of the NCAA Division III men's soccer playoffs, it did so without three starters, including the team's leading scorer.
UCSD lost three players in the semifinal match against Messiah College. Robert Paterson, the team's leading scorer, injured ligaments in his knee; forward Joe Giacalon broke his ankle and will undergo surgery, and Mike Bradley, the team's No. 3 scorer, pulled a hamstring.
Enter Bubba Wingate, the team's No. 2 scorer, who had 55 stitches and a dislocated wrist after crashing through the passenger window of a car that backed out in front of him while he was riding a bicycle two weeks ago.
Wingate scored both UCSD goals in the 2-1 semifinal victory but was unable to play in the final after he tore out some stitches in his leg. UNC Greensboro won the championship, 2-0.