Familiarity breeds comfort in the case of college football coaching. With that in mind, Ball State added a familiar face to its coaching staff recently.
Shannon Morrison, who was the defensive coordinator for Ball State coach Pete Lembo at Lehigh in 2004, has been named an assistant coach for the Cardinals.
"We are pleased to welcome Shannon Morrison and his family to Ball State and Muncie," Lembo said in a release. "Shannon did an outstanding job as our defensive coordinator at Lehigh in 2004 and helped us win a Patriot League Co-Championship. He also recruited some excellent players for Lehigh that winter. Shannon brings a wealth of experience and confidence to our defensive staff and to our program. He will challenge his position group to be the best they can be on and off the field."
In conjunction with Morrison's hire, Lembo announced a slight reorganization of coaching staff responsibilities on defense.
Jay Bateman, who has served as the defensive coordinator for the last two seasons, will be defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach. Daryl Dixon will now serve as the outside linebacker/nickel backs coach.
Morrison will serve as the defensive backs coach/pass defense coordinator and will oversee both the safety and cornerback positions.
"Shannon and Jay Bateman have had a long standing professional relationship that dates back over 15 years," Lembo id"There is a lot of mutual respect between them and I know they are excited to work together again."
Morrison spent the 2012 season as an assistant coach at Cincinnati as the cornerbacks coach. He helped the Bearcats to a 10-3 overall record last season, including a victory over Duke in the Belk Bowl, a game in which he served as interim defensive coordinator.
Morrison's areas of recruiting for Cincinnati were central and south Florida and the state of Kentucky.
He served as the cornerbacks coach at Memphis in 2010 and tutored the outside linebackers for the Tigers in 2011. Morrison coached Mohammed Selsay at Memphis to Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors in 2010.
In 2009, Morrison served as the co-defensive coordinator and coached the safeties. He helped the Falcons to a 7-6 overall record and a berth in the Idaho Humanitarian Bowl. Bowling Green ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in pass defense in 2009, allowing only 204 yards per game.
Prior to the 2009 campaign, Morrison spent from 2005-08 at his alma mater, Marshall. He coached linebackers (2005-06) and safeties (2007-08).
While at Lehigh in 2004, Morrison helped Lembo's team earn a share of the Patriot League title and earn an at-large berth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Morrison's defense held eventual national champion James Madison to just 14 points in a first round playoff game at Lehigh's Goodman Stadium.
Prior to Lehigh, Morrison was the defensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State for three seasons from 2000-03. He has also served stints at Hampden-Sydney (1998-99) and Sam Houston State (1996).
A 1995 graduate of Marshall, Morrison played defensive back for the Thundering Herd before serving as a graduate assistant for Marshall in 1995 and 1997. He helped Marshall to a berth in the 1997 Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Mich.
Morrison and his wife, Michelle, have one daughter, Miya.