John Morrison – Coaching Legend, RIP

The Gaels of Donegal were saddened to hear of the passing of John Morrison who was coach to our county senior team, under the management of Micky Moran, from 2000 to 2002. Former County Chairman, John McConnell, who was involved in bringing John and Mickey Moran to the County at the time said “John was a larger than life character, and was ahead of his time in his coaching methods. Players loved to train under him as you never knew what he was going to pull out of the hat at a session. He was a real genuine fella. He loved sharing his knowledge to anyone who would listen and was a frequent guest at numerous clubs in the County who availed of his unique talent as a coach.”


John was a highly respected and innovative coach. He was always inquisitive about the latest developments in science, psychology and coaching across a variety of other sports and was savvy enough to distill the key lessons that could be transferred to the game he loved, Gaelic football. Many of the tributes that have flooded social and print media over the last two days praise John’s innovative and futuristic methods but everything was based on solid foundations and diligent research. Thomas Edison is credited with saying genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. With John and gaelic football the genius share was higher but there was plenty of work too and he was greatly admired throughout the GAA world.


Every team John coached, and there were many at club and county level, was greatly enhanced by his knowledge and he left a lasting impression on each team and every player. Donegal was privileged to have had him but while his involvement with the County Seniors officially ended in 2002, John returned numerous times and to many clubs who were delighted to avail of his influence, expertise and brilliance. Aside from coaching, however, he was a great character, much admired and loved by those he interacted with. Our current chairperson Mick McGrath had many a run-in with him in his days as a referee but like all in his orbit speak not just with admiration but with great affection for the generous, lively and colourful character he was.


All in Donegal would like to convey our sympathies to his family – ar dheis Dé go raibh an anam.