In the 1991 Ashland University football media guide, Morris Furman was described by then-head coach Dr. Fred Martinelli as one of the hardest workers ever to wear an Eagle uniform.
When you are a defensive end, and listed at 6-foot-0 and 215 pounds, you have to be willing to out-work everyone else. The results of that hard work still stand the test of time.
Furman, who will be inducted into Ashland's Hall of Fame on Oct. 12, is the 11th-best sacker in Eagle football history (22), and his 13 sacks in 1990 are sixth-most for a single season in Ashland history – and best among those not named Bill Royce or Matthew "Bubba" Harris.
During that 1990 season, Furman led the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference in sacks, and had 85 total tackles. For that, he was named Kodak first-team All-American, MIFC Defensive Lineman of the Year and first-team All-MIFC.
As a senior in 1991, Furman was a key member of an Eagle defense which led all of NCAA Division II in total defense at 195.5 yards allowed per game. In just nine games, he compiled 56 total tackles, six sacks and an interception in garnering second-team All-MIFC honors.
"I wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school. I was small," Furman said. "I remember coach (Gary) Keller coming to the All-Star Game the one year, and he wasn't there to see me. I ended up catching his eye – just having the opportunity to come to Ashland and play and go to school. Just from a football perspective, the thing that really stood out for me was being an All-American, which was totally unexpected for me. The other thing was not being able to win the conference championship the last two years. The losses are the ones that really hurt."
In 1991, the Eagles not only gave up less than 200 total yards per game, they allowed opponents to gain just 3.1 yards per offensive play.
"We wanted to keep that up, being the top-ranked defense," Furman said. "Guys appreciated that. It was good for our ego, we took pride in that. We wanted to be the top defense in the league, and we wanted to win."
A four-year letter winner, Furman helped Ashland to a cumulative record of 28-13-1 (.679).
"As far as the sacks, I was on the smaller end, just happened to be as quick as I could be getting off the ball – be fast, play fast," said Furman. "It wasn't just about the sacks – it was do whatever we could to win the game."
Ashland University has changed quite a bit since Furman graduated in 1992 – and the facilities the Eagle football program enjoys have changed quite a bit, as well.
"We didn't take trucks – we basically drove up there with our friends and caught rides to get up there," Furman said of going from locker facilities at the Sarver Athletic Complex to home games at Community Stadium. "It's like going to a high school stadium. That's exactly what it felt like, compared to what it is now."
"Ashland's changed a whole lot since I've been there. When I came up to see (Bill) Royce, I hadn't realized that the area overlooking the stadium and the new stadium in general – is this Ashland, or is this LSU? Totally different feel. I didn't know if I was at the right school, how the campus has changed."