Wednesday, November 07, 2012

SJP's Morris nominated for Basketball Hall of Fame

Philadelphia, PA -- Former Temple University men's head basketball coach John Chaney announced the nomination of long-time city basketball coach and current St. Joseph's Prep bench boss Bill “Speedy” Morris to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

In his 44 years of coaching at the high school and college level, Morris has had nothing but success. At all five of his coaching stops, he has guided his team to a championship in his second year, often after taking over moribund programs. At Roman Catholic High School, where he began his career and spent 14 seasons as head coach, Morris won six championships and still holds the best winning percentage in school history. He then moved to Penn Charter where he led the team to 41 wins in two seasons, winning the league championship in his second season.

That began Morris’ 17 years coaching at the collegiate level. First, he took over the La Salle women’s basketball team. Like Roman and Penn Charter, he was immediately successful, winning 43 games and a conference championship in his second season, when the Explorers advanced to the NCAA Tournament. He then moved to take the head men’s position at La Salle, becoming the only coach in NCAA history to ever make the switch from women to men. With the men’s team, Morris continued his amazing success. He still has the most wins in school history and led the Explorers to four conference titles and six postseason appearances (four NCAA tournaments and two NIT tournaments).

In 2001, Morris returned to his roots in Philadelphia Catholic League basketball, taking over the reins of the Prep. In 2003, he won the first of back-to-back Catholic League titles, the school’s first in three decades. His 235 wins are the most in school history and the team won the school’s first PIAA district championship in 2012. Overall, his eight Catholic League titles rank him at the top of the record books and last year he became the all-time winningest high school coach in Philadelphia history. He is also in exclusive company with 904 career wins.

“Speedy’s success on the floor is obvious and legendary,” says Rev. George W. Bur, S.J., President of St. Joseph’s Prep. “On the court, he has made our program into a consistent winner, something that we had been unable to achieve over the first 80 years that we had basketball. Off the court, Speedy runs a solid program, one that we are very proud to be associated with. He has made the program into a family and incorporated the mission of our school into the mission of our team.”

Morris is a tireless supporter of Coaches vs. Cancer and has consistently been one of the group’s top area fundraisers. In addition, Speedy raises money for many area charities, mostly speaking without a stipend. He and his son Chris have performed more than two dozen comedy shows, with all proceeds benefitting a local charity.

Morris has received many honors over the past few years: Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, La Salle University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Archdiocesan Hall of Fame the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the court was named in his honor at Roman Catholic. He is one of the most accomplished and honored coaches in one of the world’s greatest basketball cities.

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