John Morris, ‘Voice of the Bears,’ calls it like it is

Baylor announcer John Morris sits inside his booth at McLane Stadium. Morris has been announcing Baylor games for 27 years. Photo courtesy of Baylor Photography

By Kamri Alexander | Reporter

Many Baylor Bear fans arrive at McLane Stadium during football season to cheer on the Bears at home games, and they have for years. But whether you cheered on the Bears in 1994 or 2020, there’s a common experience those Baylor fans have in common, and that’s the voice heard throughout the stadium.

The man behind the voice is a well-known Wacoan and Baylor alumnus, John Morris. Morris carries the official title of “Voice of the Bears”, but he doesn’t carry it lightly. Seasoned Baylor fans might know of the original and legendary “Voice of the Bears,” Frank Fallon. Morris owes his time Baylor as a broadcaster to Fallon offering him the opportunity to come work alongside him. Because of the great broadcaster and mentor Fallon was to Morris, Morris said he works hard to continue his legacy. Morris doesn’t even consider himself the real voice of the Bears, saying Fallon will always be the true voice.

John Morris (left) with his broadcast partner Frank Fallon on the job. The pair worked together from 1987 to 1995.
Photo courtesy of Baylor Photography
John Morris (left) with his broadcast partner Frank Fallon on the job. The pair worked together from 1987 to 1995.
Photo courtesy of Baylor Photography

“He was the best. He was absolutely the best, and anything that we do good is a reflection of him because we learned from Frank. And we just want to honor him by doing our best and living up to that standard,” Morris said.

Morris has served as the play-by-play announcer for Baylor football for 27 years now and at the beginning of the 2021 season had announced 390 consecutive games. He has worked for Baylor for 35 years, the first eight alongside his predecessor, Fallon. He was even named the Texas Co-Sportscaster of the Year in 2019 by the National Sports Media Association.

Working for Baylor for so long has been all the greater, though, because Morris’ roots are at Baylor. The school is both his and his wife’s alma mater. He graduated in 1980 and his wife, Terri Morris, graduated in 1985. The two had three children become Baylor Bears as well. Needless to say, Baylor pride runs deep in the Morris family.

Though Morris is a big fan of Baylor sports, he does admit that game days are his job first. He actually hasn’t sat in the stand of a Baylor football game in over 27 years. He has to use his job as an outlet for his team spirit while also remaining professional. But Morris loves his job so much, some would say his job doesn’t even feel like work.

“I am a fan, but I’m also working, so work has to take priority. I have to do my job, but part of my job is getting excited when Baylor does good things. So we get more excited when Baylor scores a touchdown … but you have to be fair to other programs as well,” Morris said. “It’s a job, but it’s a labor of love also … It’s a job but it’s not really work because I enjoy it so much.”

After 35 years following Baylor sports and 27 years of play-by-play announcing, how can he still enjoy that same job with the same team? Some might think the same job for that many years would become monotonous, but Morris said if his job ever became monotonous he would have to retire the next day because of the privilege is it to do what he does.

“I need to appreciate the position I have [and] appreciate the responsibility I have to do the job well and to represent Baylor well. If I ever lose that, I need to retire the next day,” Morris said. “I hope I never feel that way. I’ve never felt that way—that I’m not excited about doing a game—and I hope I never feel that way.”

People can attest to how well Morris represents Baylor. Drew Humphrey and his wife Holly Humphrey are friends of the Morris family and are also both graduates of Baylor. They both have a shared experience of Morris announcing their football games in college, but now they have special memories of taking their four children to football games. But the one common denominator between their college and adult experience is Morris over the speakers.

Not only though do they have the shared experience of Morris announcing their games, they have the privilege of knowing his character. Drew spoke highly of how well Morris has done his job in broadcasting over the past decade. Drew said often people want broadcasters to have extreme or negative opinions on athletes, but he commends Morris for staying positive.

“I think [Morris is] the best of the best … I think he is able to keep everyone from being toxic, especially because you’re talking about college athletes. They’re students, they’re kids,” Humphrey said. “John does a good job of keeping all the generations engaged without getting toxic, which is especially important at a Christian university like Baylor.”

On TV and during broadcasting, some perceive Morris to be a stand up guy and very respectable. To Humphrey and those who know John, that isn’t just his public persona ­— that’s who he is on and off the air.

“[Morris] is the exact same person he is off the show that he is on the show; not just his voice, but his vibe and everything,” Humphrey said.

The Humphreys even have personal memories of Morris being the same friendly and uplifting guy to them that he is as a broadcaster. At their wedding, Morris welcomed them for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey as the “Voice of the Bears.”

Morris has spent his time at Baylor working humbly and not wanting praise, acclaim or even to be known as the “Voice of the Bears” in light of his late mentor. But because of his character and the legacy he’s building, to a younger generation of Baylor Bears and to those who love him, Morris will go down as another legendary “Voice of the Bears.”