VMS spotlight – Mike Morris
Vail Mountain English teacher and soccer coach Mike Morris’ life got off to a bad start on his first day on the planet. Read below for the details. But, things seem to be improving for him steadily. After deciding that investment banking and the law wasn’t for him, he turned to teaching and is celebrating his 10th year at VMS. Even more happily for him, Morris, an accomplished soccer player himself, tied the knot a little more than two yearsa ago with Charry then-Korgel, who played for the Atlanta Beat of the WUSA.
For more on Mike, Charry, teaching and soccer, read on as we begin VMS’ Homecoming week with Morris in the spotlight:
Date of birth: July 30, 1966 – “Unfortunately, that was the day, Germany, my beloved team, lost to England in the World Cup final.”
Family: Mom and Dad: Suzanne and Bob Morris; Siblings: Matt, 39, Jessica, 35, and Josh, 32.
Fun to have a big family?: “It was lots of fun. My siblings have become my best friends.”
Wife: Charry Morris, married two years
If you guys played one-on-one, what would happen?: “She’d probably nutmeg me (pass the ball through his legs), and then I’d trip her.”
What brought you to teaching?: “Partly, my experience of coaching soccer, which I started doing before I began teaching. I had always loved school. I had grown up, teaching my younger siblings. I did some teaching during college as well, some writing tutorials. So, those were all good experiences. I grew tired investment banking and law school and became a teacher.”
What was your first class like? “I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had chosen a short story for students to read and I really didn’t know what would happen. Luckily, they helped me, as students so often do, and they read it and had responses to it and it went from there.”
How much do you enjoy teaching?: “It’s great. I think the reason for it is twofold for me. One is I love the subject matter. And, two, is I love working with teen-agers. The dynamics are different every single day – between the students themselves and the students and the material. There’s not once in 10 years, when I have been watching the clock tick by.”
What do you like teaching?: “I teach a lot of Shakespeare. I like teaching grammar and writing, as well. I love teaching poetry and, then, probably 20th Century American literature.”
Favorite playwright: Shakespeare
Favorite play: Hamlet
Favorite author: Thomas Wolfe
Favorite book: Look Homeward Angel
What’s it like coaching with Bob Bandoni?: “We’ve been coaching together for so long that it’s just a natural relationship. He knows the game extremely well from a coaching standpoint. And, I think, sometimes, what I can add, is the player’s viewpoint. To the extent that he is idealistic, sometimes I try to add some realism.”
(Editor’s note: No kidding. Bob’s a Red Sox fan.)
What is your favorite moment of coaching?: “Actually, probably the moments that mean the most to me are when we have players in our program, who have never really played before, and have great strengths which are separate from athletic strengths. But, when they are able to stay in the program and really become a part of it and really enjoy the experience – even though great victories are moments that a lot of people remember – that’s what I like.
Mac or PC: PC (Dude, he’s got a Dell.)
Favorite food: Tofu bratwurst with mashed potatoes and strong sauerkraut
Favorite pizza slice: “Usually, mushrooms and onions. Sometimes, I’ll add spinach, black olives and artichoke hearts.”
Favorite drink: Coffee – “Coffee is one of the things I can make as well as I can buy anywhere else. I’m opposed to Starbucks, although my beloved wife adores Starbucks. So, I find myself in there more than I’d like.”
Favorite color: Blue
First word: “Probably, “Play it wide,’ but that’s three words.”
Hobbies: Skiing and tennis and reading
Powder day, where to you ski?: Prima-Pronto under Chair 11
On tennis: “I play with Charry a fair amount. I’m not as good as she is, but I try hard.”
Favorite type of music: Classical
Favorite composer: Beethoven
Favorite Beethoven symphony: Ninth
More on Beethoven: “Actually, I’m a fan of the violin. So my favorite piece by him is his First Violin Concerto.”
Favorite movies: Ordinary People and Victory
Favorite TV Show: “I don’t watch TV. I don’t have a TV.”
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? “I love the way aspens turn colors. I wish they were called Vails.”
If you were ruler of the world for one day, what would you do?: “Encourage everyone to be vegetarian.”
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.