|Team||St. Joseph's Prep|
April 26, 1942 |
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|MAAC Postseason Tournament (Men) (4)
MAAC Regular Season Title (Men) (3)
MAAC Postseason Tournament (Women) (1)
MAAC Regular Season Title (Women) (1)
Philadelphia Catholic League Championship (9)
Inter-Academic League Championship (1)
|Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2011)
Big 5 Hall of Fame (Class of 2010)
Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)
MAAC Coach of the Year (2)
NABC District 3 Coach of the Year (2)
William "Speedy" Morris (born April 26, 1942) is a basketball coach from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has coached for over forty years, at both the collegiate and high school levels. He is perhaps best known for his tenure coaching at La Salle University, where he became the first coach in Division I history to coach both the women's and men's teams.
A native of the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Morris graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1960. He first became involved in basketball following the death of his father while he was attending Roman Catholic. Following his graduation from high school, Morris went to work in a steel mill, and also worked as a salesman for a beverage distribution company. He later purchased and operated a tavern in Roxborough. In 1967, he was hired as an assistant basketball coach at Roman Catholic, and took over as head coach the following season. Morris would coach at the school, which had not made it to the Catholic League playoffs for 27 years prior to his hiring, for 14 seasons, winning six league titles and one city championship. In 1979, Morris was reported to be a finalist for the head coaching position for the La Salle University men's basketball team. However, his lack of a college degree reportedly kept him from getting the position, which went to Lefty Ervin.
Morris was controversially fired following the 1980-81 season. Some attributed Morris' dismissal to his use of school stationary during an unsuccessful run for City Council in 1981, an accusation which Morris denied. Others blamed personal conflict between Morris and the school's principal, who was himself later transferred. Following his dismissal, Morris became a fixture in Philadelphia gyms and Boys and Girls Clubs, coaching various youth teams. He later spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach at Monsignor Bonner High School, before he was hired as head coach of Penn Charter's boys basketball team in 1983. In two seasons at the school, Morris won 41 games, and led the team to its first Inter-Academic League title in twelve years.
La Salle coaching career
In 1984, Morris resigned as head coach at Penn Charter, sold his tavern, and was named head coach of La Salle University's women's basketball team. In becomming the first full-time women's coach in the history of the school, Morris inherited a team that had gone 11-18 the season before, and had lost by 50 points to rival Temple. The Lady Explorers finished Morris' first season at the helm with a 22-8 record, including a nine-point defeat of Temple. In his second and final season leading the team, the Lady Explorers won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season and postseason tournament championships. In the NCAA Tournament, La Salle was defeated by Villanova in the first round.
On March 6, 1986, Ervin resigned as head coach of the La Salle men's basketball team. Morris was immediately mentioned as a contender for the job, and was hired over La Salle graduates Fran Dunphy (an assistant on Ervin's staff), and Eddie Burke (the head coach at Drexel). Some speculated that Morris' candidacy was aided by his extensive history in Philadelphia High School basketball, as La Salle was, at the time of Ervin's resignation, heavily recruiting local star Lionel Simmons. Soon after Morris took the position, three members of the school's athletic committee resigned, claiming to have felt railroaded by athletic director Bill Bradshaw's desire to hire Morris. Bradshaw himself left the school several months later to become the athletic director at DePaul. Despite the mild controversy surrounding his hiring, Morris successfully recruited Simmons to La Salle.
During the 1986-87 season, Morris' first as head coach, new athletic director Bob Mullen reprimanded Morris for his aggressive coaching style and comparison of the La Salle program to other Big 5 schools. Mullen's reprimand was thought to have come at the direction of the school's leadership, including school president Patrick Ellis. Mullen and Ellis specifically cited some of Morris' postgame comments about his team, including his assertion that they had "quit" following a loss, as well as his declaration that his team needed to learn how to "win" the way programs like Temple, St. Joe's and Villanova do. In the end, La Salle finished the season with a narrow loss to Southern Mississippi in the NIT championship game. Simmons was named the MAAC freshman of the year, and was a member of the all-conference team. In Morris' second season in charge, La Salle broke-through, going undefeated in MAAC play, and winning the conference regular season and postseason tournament titles en-route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. La Salle's greatest success under Morris would come in the 1989-90 season, when Simmons won multiple national player of the year awards, and Doug Overton and Tim Legler provided secondary scoring and leadership. The team at one point rattled-off 22 consecutive victories, en route to a 30-victory season, eventually falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Clemson. That defeat was later reversed when the NCAA ruled that the Tigers had used an ineligible player, making La Salle's final record 31-1.
Despite being just one of four coaches to have won 100 games in his first four seasons in Division I, Morris' teams struggled after La Salle's 1992 departure from the MAAC. The program's three years in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference yielded just one winning season, and its subsequent departure for the Atlantic 10 did not result in a single winning season for the remaineder of Morris' tenure. As La Salle's play lagged, recruiting took a hit, with some attributing the lack of recruiting success to inadequate facilities, as the Explorers had three home courts in the 1990s—the Civic Center, the Spectrum and the Tom Gola Arena, which opened in February 1998. The team practiced at a dozen different gyms while waiting for its new arena to be completed. La Salle did improve its local recruiting efforts later in Morris' tenure, with the Explorers landing prized local Philadelphia-area recruits Donnie Carr, Victor Thomas and Rasual Butler. Nonetheless, despite strong support from the La Salle alumni community—including Hall of Famer Tom Gola—Morris was fired as head coach in March of 2001.
Return to high school
Following his ouster at La Salle, Morris returned to the high school ranks, accepting the head boys' basketball coaching position at
Awards and honors
In over 40 seasons as a head coach, Morris has become the all-time winningest coach in the history of Philadelphia boys high school basketball, the Philadelphia Catholic League, as well as the winningest coach in the history of St. Joe's Prep. He is also the winningest coach in the history of the La Salle men's basketball program, and is the all-time winning percentage leader for the La Salle women's program, as well as for all three high school programs he has coached.
Morris is a member of ten hall of fames, inclduing the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, the Big 5 Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012, former Temple head coach John Chaney nominated Morris for membership in the Basketball Hall of Fame, though Morris was eliminated from consideration prior to the final round of balloting. Morris is a two-time MAAC Coach of the Year Award recipient, and was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Coach of the Year for District 3 in 1989 and 1990.
Head coaching record
|La Salle Explorers (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) (1986–1992)|
|1986–1987||La Salle||20-13||10–4||2nd||NIT Runner-Up|
|1987–1988||La Salle||24-10||14–0||1st||NCAA First Round|
|1988–1989||La Salle||26-6||13-1||1st||NCAA First Round|
|1989–1990||La Salle||30-2^||16-0||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1990–1991||La Salle||19-10||12–4||2nd||NIT First Round|
|1991–1992||La Salle||20-11||12–4||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|La Salle Explorers (Midwestern Collegiate Conference) (1992–1995)|
|La Salle Explorers (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1995–2001)|
|La Salle:||238–203 (.540)||128-96 (.571)||
^ Season and overall records shown do not
National champion Postseason invitational champion
|La Salle Explorers (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) (1984–1986)|
|1985-1986||La Salle||21-9||10-2||1st||NCAA First Round|
|La Salle:||43–17 (.717)||19–5 (.792)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
|1968-1981||Roman Catholic||Catholic League||347-82||.809|
|2001-Present||St. Joe's Prep||Catholic League||257-76||.772|
Morris and his wife, Mimi, have been married for over 40 years and currently reside in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. They are the parents of three sons and one daughter. Along with his son, Christopher, Morris has put-on an annual comedy show for over twenty consecutive years. Morris is a lifelong Democrat, though he appeared on the ballot as a Republican in his unsuccessful 1981 bid for City Council.
- Avington, Bill. "St. Joseph's Prep Basketball Coach Speedy Morris Nominated For Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame" (PDF). Press Releases. St. Joesph's Prep. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Searcy, Jay (November 20, 1986). "Speedy Morris' Dream: A Basketball Legend Becomes A Rookie Coach". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Morris Fighting To Get Job Back Following Firing". The Reading Eagle. July 20, 1981. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- Santoliquito, Joseph. "Speedy Morris wins 900th basketball game in Philadelphia". Basketball News. MaxPreps.com. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- Newman, Chuck (March 8, 1986). "Ervin Quits As Coach At La Salle". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Searcy, Jay (November 20, 1986). "Speedy Morris' Dream: A Basketball Legend Becomes A Rookie Coach". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Wolff, Alexander. "Takin' The Train". Sports Illustrated. Time, Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "Morris to be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame". Montgomery County News. July 8, 2011. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Fernandez, Bernard (March 7, 1986). "End Of Ervin Era". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Fernandez, Bernard (March 8, 1986). "La Salle's Ervin Resigns". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Homer, Jody (May 21, 1986). "La Salle Athletic Director To Switch Over To De Paul". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Newman, Chuck (January 19, 1987). "La Salle Asks Morris To Tone Down Comments". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- Hofmann, Rich (February 27, 1987). "Sudden Impact La Salle Freshman Simmons Follows Familiar Path To Success". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- Tatum, Kevin (March 10, 2001). "Morris Fired As Coach By La Salle". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- "La Salle fires longtime coach Speedy Morris". CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- "Speedy Morris nominated for Naismith Hall of Fame". The Philadelphia Inquirer. November 7, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "Cheeks, Staley finalists for hoops Hall of Fame". The Philadelphia Inquirer. February 16, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "La Salle Explorers Basketball: 1998-99 Men's Media Guide". La Salle University Athletic Department: Men's Basketball Media Guide. La Salle University. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Hegedus, Beth (October 18, 2009). ""Republican" councilman Speedy Morris and son, Chris, entertain in Philadelphia". The Examiner.
______________________________________________________________________________________________ TO DO:
- mccormick (code below)
*harrisburg service (entire) *DNC before and after
*philly schools entire; use: http://books.google.com/books?id=G78BAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=jacobs+philadelphia+school+superintendent+1915&source=bl&ots=RXh6837p4s&sig=J_aGzFpszdZwPyCcmqS_SoRw6-E&hl=en&sa=X&ei=v9bkUJfLCIHV0gGBk4CwBg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=brumbaugh%20philadelphia%20school%20superintendent%201915&f=false
chairman out: april 26, 1927 http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/access/1646540242.html?FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:AI&type=historic&date=Apr+27%2C+1905&author=&pub=The+Sun+(1837-1985)&desc=REPUBLICANS+NAME+TICKET&pqatl=google
RNC BACK in (succeeding Henry G. Wasson): http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/access/1769854272.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=May+18%2C+1916&author=&pub=The+Sun+(1837-1985)&desc=FORD+AHEAD+OF+T.+R.+IN+PHILADELPHIA+VOTE&pqatl=google
RNC BACK out at death--succeeded by george pepper http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TxMrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=c5wFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2695,1778319&dq=boies+penrose+republican+national+committee&hl=en
pepper's RNC out May 12, 1928 (succeded by WW Atterbury...William Wallace Atterbury) http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/access/1660895752.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Jun+01%2C+1928&author=&pub=The+Sun+(1837-1985)&desc=Pepper+Refuses+Place+As+Contest+Chairman&pqatl=google
Wesley R. Andrews
henry f. walton
Henry G. Wasson