Harriett Jewell Morrison, 73, who built the Farrell High School women's volleyball program into a perennial powerhouse, died peacefully at her home on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
She earned many awards and accolades over the course of her 39-year teaching and coaching career, but her greatest legacy was the positive impact she had on the many young women who were fortunate enough to call her "Coach".
Born on July 18, 1944, in Mercer Cottage Hospital, Harriett was the daughter of Darrell Lee and Ina Louise Morrison (both deceased) of Jefferson Township.
She is survived by her twin brother, Harry Morrison (Joan); sisters Betty Sunday and Marjorie Stambaugh (Andrew); and brother James Morrison (Joanne). She was the most wonderful and generous "Aunt Sissy" to her eight nieces and nephews, and spoiled her 13 great-nieces and great-nephews with affection and gifts.
A brother-in-law, Albert Sunday, preceded her in death.
A 1962 graduate of Mercer High School, Harriett went on to obtain a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Slippery Rock University in 1966. Her first and only teaching job was at Farrell High School, where she was employed until her retirement in June 2005. In addition to being an outstanding teacher, she coached cheerleading and track and field; however, it was an offer in the early 1970s that led her to her life's passion, volleyball.
Ed McCluskey, athletic director and a legendary coach himself, was starting a women's volleyball program at Farrell and wanted Harriett to be the coach. He certainly selected well, as Coach Morrison put her heart and soul into her position, driving players to camps, washing uniforms, helping players with the college recruiting process, setting up an elementary feeder program, organizing Junior Olympic (JO) volleyball in western Pennsylvania, serving as the JO Coach of the 14-and-under team for 12 years, and living by her own motto, "Winners Give All."
Her only losing season as coach of the Farrell Steelers was her first in 1973-74. She went on to win eight PIAA State Championships (one more than her mentor, McCluskey), and was PIAA State Runner-up five times. Her teams made 22 consecutive PIAA state tournament appearances in all and had five perfect seasons. Under her tenure, Farrell won 20 WPIAL Championships and amassed a record of 554-59.
Coach Morrison is in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the WPIAL Hall of Fame, and was a finalist for the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year. Farrell Area School District named a gymnasium in her honor. Through it all she maintained a humble demeanor, a fanatical work ethic and a "tough love" approach that earned her the respect of many.
Harriett was the American Business Women's Association Woman of the Year in 1975 and a member of Charleston United Methodist Church. She was inducted into the Mercer High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010.
She also had a passion for horses that she shared with her father and loved living on the family farm since childhood, where her perfectionism was evident in her yard and flowers. Always competitive, Harriett enjoyed playing games with family and friends and spent leisure time making the most beautiful cards that she sent to loved ones for birthdays and special occasions.
The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the American Heart Association, 840 Southwestern Run Youngstown, OH 44514.
Harriett Jewell, 73, of Jefferson Township.
Calling hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday (1-23-18) and 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday (1-24-18) at SHERMAN FUNERAL HOME and CREMATION SERVICE, 2201 Highland Road, Hermitage.
Funeral service: 11 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Burial: America's Cemetery, Hermitage.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.shermanfuneralhome.com.
Published on January 22, 2018