COD grads Kris (left) and Lisa Morton, national champions for the Chaparrals, now focus their energies and talents on coaching future softball stars from grade school through high school. 
Photo by Terence Guider-Shaw/special to College of DuPage

Morton Girls are a Diamond’s Best Friend

 
Sisters Kris and Lisa Morton, integral members of three national junior college softball champion teams while students at College of DuPage, share a keen insight into how hard work and dedication lead to success in and out of the classroom.
 
Their former COD coach, Deb DiMatteo, calls them “shining examples” who were “outstanding athletes, team leaders and good students.”
 
Kris, a first baseman, helped the Chaparrals to a national runner-up finish in 1997, and knocked in the winning run in the championship game the following year, while Lisa, a pitcher, was one of the aces of a staff that led the Chaps to national titles in 2000 and 2001.
 
Today the two talented women share their skills and knowledge with young people throughout the College district. Kris teaches at Pleasant Hill Elementary School in Wheaton, and is the assistant varsity coach for a Glenbard South team that won the 2012 state high school softball championship, the first in the school’s history. Lisa, an instructor for the Bulls/Sox Academy in Lisle and Glen Ellyn, teaches the finer points of pitching to youngsters at camps, clinics and private lessons.
 
Lisa and Kris, both Glenbard South grads and 2006 inductees into the NJCAA Hall of Fame, credit their parents for not only encouraging them to take up softball, but for being their biggest fans.
 
Kris remembers her dad pitching to them in the house with a balled-up sock when she was
3 years old, and Lisa emphasizes that her parents “threw them into everything” at the Glen Ellyn Park District.
 
“My parents didn’t know what our talents would be,” Lisa said. “We just took a liking to softball.”
 
DiMatteo recalls Mr. and Mrs. Morton as “super parents.”
 
“They came to every game, traveled to see us play on road trips, and were genuinely sad they didn’t have another daughter to bring to our program after Kris and Lisa graduated!” said DiMatteo, a COD instructor with 27 years of experience as a collegiate volleyball and fast pitch softball coach.
 
After their College of DuPage years, Kris and Lisa both attended Illinois State University, where Kris earned a degree in physical education and Lisa a bachelor’s in recreation and park administration. Lisa then went to Northeastern Illinois University to add a physical education degree.
 
“Both of us knew that after our playing careers were over, we wanted to go into coaching,” said Lisa. “I felt like I had the knowledge to share with youth in a sport I’m very passionate about. It’s exciting for me, and it never gets old.”
 
Kris feels that her coaching philosophy borrows not only from DiMatteo and Glenbard South head coach Julie Fonda-Smith, but from others along the way. “I was blessed with really good coaches. I’ve taken a part of my dad, my youth coaches, my high school coach and my college coaches. So I’m kind of molded into one,” she laughs. As Lisa trains her future pitching prospects, ranging from 8-year-olds to high school sophomores, she tries to keep in mind how much young athletes look up to their coaches at that level.
 
“We want to set good examples and be role models for these young ladies,” she said, “just as my coaches, like Deb DiMatteo at COD, did wonderful things for us.”