Tufts Names John Morris of CSU as Next Athletics Director

John Morris
February 27, 2015

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University has named John G. Morris, currently interim director of athletics at Colorado State University, as its next director of athletics, effective June 15. The appointment follows a national search.

At Tufts, Morris will lead a comprehensive athletics, physical education and recreation program that has earned six NCAA Division III team championships in the last five years.  Though most of his experience has been at the NCAA Division I level, Morris’ roots are steeped in the principles that are espoused in Division III and at private, academically-focused institutions like Tufts.

"At Tufts, our varsity and club sports and physical education programs enrich our students’ education in profoundly meaningful ways," President Anthony P. Monaco said. "John Morris is committed to that philosophy and ardently believes that the lessons learned on the playing field—teamwork, goal-setting and the ability to handle wins and losses with equal grace—are values that serve our students long after they leave the university."

"It has been my professional goal to lead the athletics program at an exceptional private academic institution where athletics participation opportunities are truly just one part of a student’s overall educational experience, there is a rich history and tradition of athletic success achieved within the rules and not at the expense of academic rigor, and there is an expectation and desire for excellence in every institutional endeavor," Morris said. "Tufts University has all of those attributes in spades."

"John has a passion for helping students achieve greatness in all aspects of their lives and creating a culture and environment that enables them to have an exceptional educational experience both on and off the field. His commitments and values are a great fit for Tufts. We look forward to working with him to build upon the recent successes of Tufts athletics," said Provost and Senior Vice President David R. Harris.

Morris joined CSU as deputy director of athletics in 2012 and was promoted to interim director in 2014.  In these roles, he effectively led initiatives to ensure student-athlete academic success, managed a $32 million athletics budget and launched new marketing strategies, capital projects and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to CSU, he was the senior associate director of athletics at the University of Washington for eight years.  Morris' background also includes working as an attorney at a large private law firm, as an instructor in a graduate school program and as an administrator at the NCAA.

Morris was born and raised in St. Louis, Mo.  He attributes his appreciation for the liberal arts to his late father, who was a poet and English professor at Washington University in St. Louis for many years. Morris himself received a B.A. in French and political science and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University. "The mission of Tufts University aligns perfectly with my own educational values, and I will be passionate about carrying out that mission every day," Morris said.

"Increasingly, athletics has become part of the Tufts experience and Tufts brand.  We aspire to the same excellence on our playing fields that we see in our classrooms.  In John Morris, we are getting a proven national leader at the Division I level whose heart is in Division III athletics.  John will engage students, faculty and alumni with a leadership style and new ideas that will continue our growth," said Ted Tye, Tufts alumnus and chair of the athletics board of advisors.

As a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Tufts is part of the nation’s most competitive small college conference academically and athletically.

Tufts' Athletics Department sponsors a varsity program of 28 sports, and Tufts athletics was ranked seventh out of more than 400 NCAA Division III institutions in the 2014 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, which ranks schools according to their finishes in NCAA events. Since 2010 Tufts teams have won NCAA championships in men's soccer (2014), men’s lacrosse (2010 and 2014), field hockey (2012) and softball (2013 and 2014). In addition, individual Jumbos have captured the 2010 Division III women's singles crown in tennis, the 2012 and 2014 NCAA men's one-meter diving championship, and the 2014 NCAA women’s outdoor track 400-meter hurdles championship.

Jumbo student-athletes have also earned national, regional and conference academic and service awards, including Capital One Academic All-America ® honors and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship award. Tufts athletics is a strong supporter of Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life for seriously ill children by pairing them with college sports teams.

Tufts University has a long tradition of celebrating health and wellness in all its forms.  A distinctive constellation of schools includes the School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; an annual marathon challenge has trained hundreds to run in Boston's famous race; and a personalized performance program offers one-on-one fitness training to university students and employees. In 2012, Tufts dedicated the Steve Tisch Sports & Fitness Center, a 42,000 square foot facility that underscores the university's commitment to healthy living for students, faculty and staff.


Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.