Speedy Morris Ends His Career
Philadelphia High School Basketball
Speedy Morris' Wonderful Career
On March 7, 2020, St. Joseph's Prep lost to Reading, 57-45, in the first round
of the PIAA Class 6A state playoffs, thus bringing to an end the marvelous,
52-year coaching career of William "Speedy" Morris (counting high school
boys and college men/women.)
Click here for a photo set from the 2018 season, when Speedy notched career
win No. 1,000.
**Posted at Bottom of Page . . . Recaps of Wins Nos. 100 Through 700 at the High
School Level; Names of Speedy's Players at Roman, Penn Charter, La Salle
University (Men & Women) and SJ Prep; Rotations of Championship Teams.**
Return to TedSilary.com Home Page
| || |
Speedy's All-League players:
PENN CHARTER, 1983-84
LA SALLE WOMEN, 1985-86
LA SALLE MEN, 1987-2001
| Speedy Morris |
This story, which perfectly captured Speedy's career and his impact on so many, was written after he coached his final Catholic League regular season game
By Kevin Callahan
And, the memories …
“We met on this court,” Prendergast said, shaking his head to the circle of life he was experiencing Sunday afternoon at La Salle College High School. “It was 1965 and Speedy was coaching St. John the Baptist (Manayunk) and I was coaching Saint Timothy (Mayfair) and we played in the second round of the CYO tournament here.
“I knew he was a good coach and demonstrative, but what I remember most is when we were shaking hands after the game, he said to me, ‘my scouts didn’t tell me how good your press was,” Prendergast said laughing. “I was thinking, ‘you have scouts, I was just hoping to find my station wagon to drive the team home,’ and we stayed close all these years.”
The story by Prendergast really punctuates the success of Morris as a coach and a person. As a coach, Morris did what other coaches wouldn’t at every level to prepare his team, to give his team an edge. As a person, once you were a friend of Morris, you were a friend for life.
“It’s really been overwhelming, everybody saying so many nice and warm things,” Morris said before the Hawks defeated La Salle 59-56 as the Prep improved to 12-10 overall. “I wish we were winning a few more games but …”
“It’s really humbling,” Speedy added quickly. “I’m seeing so many people and I’ve met so many people in basketball, it’s been a blessing.”
Morris, 77, announced in December his retirement at the end of his 19th year at the Prep and 52nd season coaching on the high school and college levels due to health issues.
Thankfully, the end isn’t here yet as the ninth-seeded Hawks move into the first round of the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Archbishop Carroll.
“It definitely is in the back of our minds,” said senior forward Chris Arizin after scoring eight points, admitting not wanting the career of Morris to end this week. “He is such a legendary coach and this could be his last game, our last game, and we don’t want either of those so we are going to play our hearts out every game.”
Only the hearts of the many who played for Morris at Roman Catholic, Penn Charter, La Salle University men’s and women’s teams, and St. Joseph’s Prep can tell how his 1,000-plus wins doesn’t do justice of the impact the kid from Manayunk has had on the Philadelphia basketball community.
“He is a really caring guy and is very personable and everything he teaches really carries over.”
Mike Keenan, a senior guard, drained five 3-pointers and scored 18 points for the Prep in front of a packed gym that gave Morris a standing ovation before the game while players on both teams wore t-shirts with “52 Seasons - Philly Legend, One of a Kind” on the backs.
“We love him, he is a Philly original,” La Salle coach Mike McKee, who played at Roman Catholic, said. “There is Rocky, there are soft pretzels, there are cheesesteaks and there is the Liberty Bell and there is Speedy Morris.
“He is just an unbelievable person and I’ve always admired him and it means a lot to just be a part of this.
Keith Morris played for his dad at La Salle and has been by his side on the Prep bench.
“I think the greatest thing about him is the older he has gotten, some of the stuff he would have been harder on the kids about, he has a softer approach,” Keith said.
“I think one of the things that strikes me most about him and he has said it multiple times, is the greatest gifts he has ever been given is invitations to former players weddings, invitations to their children‘s christenings. Some of his former players are his best friends. He takes more pride in seeing them go out and be a hard working family man than anything, it is beyond basketball.
SEASON BY SEASON
CATHOLIC LEAGUE TITLES
“The Jimmy O’Briens, the Mike Bantoms, the Lionel Simmons’ and the Steve Vasturias are all great friends, but it is
everybody, there are guys who come around who were last men on the bench, there are managers that just love him.”
Matthew Morris is the son of Keith and the grandson of Speedy. He is a 6th grader who plays for his
Plymouth-Whitemarsh town team and St. Genevieve school team.
“Until 5th grade, I was like that is just my Pop-Pop,” Matthew said. “And, then all of a sudden, one of my buddies said, ‘hey,
I looked up Speedy Morris and he is all over Google,’ and I was like, “oh my gosh, everybody knows him.’
“And, I will be stopped at my basketball games and people will say, ‘you’re Speedy Morris’ grandson’ and it is a shock to
me, everyone knows him as a basketball legend and that is my Pop-Pop.
“So it is really cool to be able to go to his Hall of Fames and to be able to say my Pop-Pop is a Hall of Famer,”
atthew gushed, “and for people to recognize me as his grandson.
Mike Brophy also enjoys a unique and close perspective of Speedy Morris since not only did his son, Sean, play for him
at the Prep, he played against Morris’ Roman Catholic teams in the mid-1970’s when he starred in Archbishop Carroll’s
backcourt with Butch Lynam and Greg Webster, who both went on to play for La Salle.
Brophy recalled trailing the Cahillites at halftime by 10 points and he could hear Morris through the walls at Carroll.
“It didn’t matter they were up, Speedy was a perfectionist and he wanted everything done right no matter what the score,”
said Brophy, who scored 1,000 points and captained Ursinus’ Final Four team in 1981 along with Springfield coach Kevin
Brophy also was a Division I official and reffed one of Morris’ La Salle games at the Carrier Dome, so he might have heard
Speedy on the sideline, too.
But Brophy recalled Morris softer side off the court, which has endeared the veteran coach to so many over the years as well,
telling the story when his son had his wisdom teeth removed and Speedy showed up at their house with a milk shake for Sean.
“And, Sean was only a sophomore,” Brophy said.
Brophy admired how Morris was able to install offensive sets and systems to maximize the talent of his teams and top players.
“He had good players everywhere he went, but he made those players pretty spectacular and highlighted them,” Brophy said.
“Obviously, he has been a winner anywhere he has gone.”
Steve Vasturia, the all-time leading scorer at St. Joseph’s Prep School, crossed the Delaware River to play for Morris from
South Jersey where Speedy’s legacy reached.
“I was so lucky to have played for Speedy at the Prep where I was able to grow immensely as a player and as a person,"
Vasturia said when contacted over the weekend in Germany where he is playing professionally with Rasta Vechta. “I learned
so much from him and he really helped to shape me into the person I am today.”
The leading scorer in the Prep’s prestigious history with 1,764 points, Vasturia was the Prep’s first player to be named team
Most Valuable Player and All-Catholic League for three consecutive years.
“He has made such a major impact on the Philadelphia basketball community and countless players and families," Vasturia said.
Vasturia, who had his No. 32 retired at The Prep, was a four-year starter at the University of Notre Dame.
“Today, I’m lucky to call him a friend and am extremely proud to have been a part of his program," said Vasturia, who was
the Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year as a senior for Morris,
Donnie Carr is one of only six players in La Salle history to top 2,000 points (2,067) in his four-year career playing for Morris.
“He was a guy that was before his time,” Carr said. “The way he played in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s is the way
veryone is playing now,” Carr said.
The four-time First Team All-Big 5 honoree, who ranks second in school history with 308 three-pointers and sixth with 404
assists, is in his third season as an assistant coach for the Explorers.
“He is the one who put the idea of one day coaching in my head,” said Carr.
Carr was star guard at Roman Catholic where Morris’ legacy started in the PCL.
“Everyone knows about his unbelievable career, his Hall of Fame career as a coach, but he is also a Hall of Fame person,,”
Carr said. “He is an unbelievable guy, and I was just blessed to play for him and learn from him for four years of my life.”
Randy Monroe also played at Roman Catholic for Morris and is a former assistant coach under him at La Salle. He is
currently an assistant coach with the Hawks and a dean at the Prep.
“He’s a man who has put his whole heart and soul into coaching the game of basketball and nurturing young men and
when it is time to say good-bye so to speak,” Monroe said.
“I do recall my days playing for him at Roman Catholic and if I could turn back the hands of time, I would go right back
to Roman and play for him again.”
Former La Salle University coach John Giannini noted how Morris was a mentor to several generations of coaches.
“Fran Dunphy is the winningest Big 5 coach and he learned to coach under Speedy Morris, Joe Mihalich is having an
incredible career (at Hofstra) and beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion this year and he learned under coach Morris and you
can go on and on,” Giannini said. “Then you have coaches who are a little bit younger like myself and for me he was a
friend and a role model.
“He was a friend because he always encouraged me and he wanted me to succeed and he was a role model because he
was a good coach and a family man.
“I got really close with his family over the years and everyone talks about balance in life, how can you be great at your
profession, but also have a good family life and he does both of those as well as any coach I’ve been around.”
Current Explorers head coach Ashley Howard and sophomore forward Ed Croswell, who played for Morris, sat behind
he Prep bench after playing a tough Atlantic 10 Conference game on Saturday night against rival Saint Joseph’s.
“It was an honor to play for Coach Speedy,” Croswell said. “He just taught me so much about the game, how to
slow down, he was very technical about how he wanted us to run his plays and he has been a great mentor to me.
“He is just a great person to be around and people don’t know that he is hilarious off the court and I just love to be
And, some like Prendergast have been blessed to be around Speedy Morris for over 50 years, but no matter how
long anyone has shared the court with him, they have been touched by the man.
“The Prep’s motto is ‘men for others’ and I don’t know of any man for others more than my dad,” Keith Morris
said, “and, that is quite a blessing.”
Coach Speedy Morris (front, R) with Penn Charter's 1984
Inter-Ac League champs. No. 32 (front) is Carl
Arrigale, the league MVP and long-time, highly-successful coach at Neumann/Neumann-Goretti.
| Below are recaps for wins Nos. 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700 in Speedy Morris' lengthy career |
as a high school coach. . .
Below are the players who helped Speedy Morris accumulate 1,035 wins at the high school/college levels.
Year indicates the player's final season. Most were seniors. Some transferred and some were underclassmen
who did not play in the following season. The '81, '84, '86, '01 and '20 teams include multiple underclassmen.
(Note: In the '82 season, Speedy was an unofficial assistant at Bonner.)
| ROMAN CATHOLIC |
LA SALLE WOMEN
| ST. JOSEPH'S PREP |
|Charles DiCicco||1968||Patty Fallon||1985||Evan Pierce||2002|
|Dan Avington||1968||Trish Giordano||1985||Jim Good||2002|
|Dennis Mathews||1968||Gina Tobin||1985||Matt Stefanski||2002|
|John Proud||1968||Kelly Briar||1986||Mike Haubrich||2002|
|Keith Coady||1968||Mary Coyle||1986||Ryan Lynch||2002|
|Larry Avington||1968||Jill Crandley||1986||Brett Novielli||2003|
|Steve Collins||1968||Linda Hester||1986||John Oberlies||2003|
|Bill Braunsberg||1969||Allison Hudson||1986||Kyle Eisenmann||2003|
|Bill Medina||1969||Suzi McCaffrey||1986||Mark Meehan||2003|
|Bob Giballa||1969||Cheryl Reeve||1986||Mark Zoller||2003|
|John Pindynski||1969||Suzy Springman||1986||T.J. Valerio||2003|
|Larry Storm||1969||Linda French||1986||Antoine Joseph||2004|
|Lorenzo Hough||1969||Kelly Greenberg||1986||Chris Clark||2004|
|Mike Bantom||1969||Tracey Sneed||1986||Jared Black||2004|
|Mike Moody||1969||Jenniger Snyder||1986||John Griffin||2004|
|Bob Zakrzewski||1970||Sheila Wall|| |
|Charles Gardner||1970||Mike Kearney||2004|
|Dennis Carr||1970|| |
LA SALLE MEN
|Jim O'Brien||1970||Paul Lynch||2004|
|Rich Giusti||1970||Corey O'Rourke||2005|
|Ed Hoban||1971||Larry Koretz||1987||Joe Fox||2005|
|John Beecroft||1971||Ron Barnes||1987||Oscar Griffin||2005|
|Marty Corcoran||1971||Len Robinson||1987||Sean Barker||2005|
|Tony Smith||1971||Gary Jones||1987||Charlie Schrier||2006|
|Bob Blumber||1972||Tim Legler||1988||Dave Stefanski||2006|
|Charlie Rumsey||1972||Rich Tarr||1988||James Oberlies||2006|
|Dave Henderson||1972||Ken Palczewski||1988||Kevin Fox||2006|
|Ed Jones||1972||Eric Lee||1988||Kevin Funston||2006|
|Fran Sykes||1972||Marvin Woods||1988||Kevin Gallagher||2006|
|John Murphy||1972||Craig Conlin||1989||Matt Beck||2006|
|Mike Cannon||1972||Steve Wriedt||1989||Mike Lombardi||2006|
|Mike Foster||1972||Ralph Flowers||1989||Mike McCauley||2006|
|Rich Maguire||1972||Sam Rines||1989||Reggie Redding||2006|
|Bob Cahill||1973||Derek Brown||1989||Chris Farrell||2007|
|Chico Singleton||1973||Lionel Simmons||1990||Drew Horgan||2007|
|Jim Harrington||1973||Bobby Johnson||1990||Larry Loughery||2007|
|Rocco Piliero||1973||Doug Overton||1991||Matt Dolan||2007|
|Adrian Moody||1974||Broderick President||1991||Matt Griffin||2007|
|Donald Kelly||1974||Lamont Carter||1991||Mike Mifka||2007|
|Jack Kelly||1974||Mike Stock||1991||Rob Coney||2007|
|John Griffin||1974||Randy Woods||1992||Sean McNulty||2007|
|Marcellus Pringle||1974||Jack Hurd||1992||Casey Convery||2008|
|Mike LaPera||1974||Milko Lieverst||1992||Jim Mower||2008|
|Ike Robertson||1975||Bron Holland||1992||Joe Meehan||2008|
|Ira Brown||1975||Keith Morris||1992||Matt Williams||2008|
|Jeff Marcial||1975||Blitz Wooten||1993||Mike Bradley||2008|
|Joe Garrett||1975||Don Shelton||1993||Phil Giordano||2008|
|Keith Green||1975||Jeff Neubauer||1993||Rich Hofmann||2008|
|Rich Smith||1975||Ray Schultz||1993||Sean Dooley||2008|
|Terry Christian||1975||Luteke Kalombo||1993||Brandon Robinson||2009|
|Tom Griffin||1975||Chris Donato||1993||Dan Fitzpatrick||2009|
|Tony Rapone||1975||Mike Bergin||1993||Drew Valerio||2009|
|Zane Major||1975||Terquin Mott||1994||Kevin O'Neill||2009|
|Bob Alessio||1976||Quincy Lee||1994||Mike Leithead||2009|
|Greg Flannery||1976||Kareem Townes||1995||Pat Stewart||2009|
|Jim Benincasa||1976||Paul Burke||1995||Pete Buzby||2009|
|Jim Dougherty||1976||Derick Newton||1995||Tom Griffin||2009|
|Mike Morrow||1976||Romaine Haywood||1996||Bryan Bacskai||2010|
|Rich Blasetti||1976||Chris Copeland||1996||Connor McIntyre||2010|
|Steve Compton||1976||Everett Catlin||1997||Joe Nardi||2010|
|Frank Ward||1977||Travar Johnson||1997||Joe Oberlies||2010|
|Fred Braunsberg||1977||Mike Melchionni||1997||John Hrabrick||2010|
|Jim Parson||1977||Jasper van Teeseling||1997||John Regan||2010|
|Kevin Eagan||1977||Matt Comey||1997||Sean Brophy||2010|
|Mark Dugan||1977||Steve Fromal||1997||James Stewart||2011|
|Ray Finney||1977||Ronnie Braxton||1997||Matt Stahl||2011|
|Tyrone Dent||1977||Mike Gizzi||1998||Mike Fee||2011|
|Warren Catlett||1977||Shawn Smith||1998||Mike Levy||2011|
|Charlie Robbins||1978||Olof Landgren||1998||Gene Williams||2012|
|Chris Kelley||1978||Sid Catlett||1998||Joe Kane||2012|
|Greg Hayden||1978||Brian Flickinger||1998||Kevin Oberlies||2012|
|Jim Braunsberg||1978||K'Zell Watson||1999||Matt Gorman||2012|
|John Siorek||1978||Jermaine Peebles||1999||Tom Stewart||2012|
|Larry McGill||1978||Deon Jones||1999||Trevor Johnson||2012|
|Reggie Jackson||1978||Bobby Collins||1999||Wes Hackman||2012|
|Roosevelt Prescott||1978||Donnie Carr||2000||Dan Nedbal||2013|
|Bill Dillard||1979||Alexsandar Pavlovic||2000||Dan Sherry||2013|
|Kevin Copes||1979||Mike Pidhirsky||2000||Kyle MacWilliams||2013|
|Leonard Stubbs||1979||Mike Sidebotham||2000||Mark Hueber||2013|
|Mike Lally||1979||Rasual Butler||2001||Miles Overton||2013|
|Ralph Mack||1979||Victor Thomas||2001||P.J. Kelly||2013|
|Ray Gorham||1979||Julian Blanks||2001||Stephen Vasturia||2013|
|Darryl Williams||1979||Garrett Bragg||2001||Alex Stewart||2014|
|Gerald Roberts||1980||James Jordan||2001||Chris Hoffner||2014|
|John Ross||1980||Rasheed Quadri||2001||John Luciano||2014|
|Lonnie McFarlan||1980||Anwar Wilson||2001||Kyle W. Thompson||2014|
|Steve Scheier||1980||Jackiem Wright||2001||Malik Macon||2014|
|Alex Staranowicz||1981||Dwayne Jones||2001||Rick Slusarczyk||2014|
|Anthony Abron||1981||Joel-Jean Baptiste||2001||Ryan Wall||2014|
|Craig McClellan||1981||John Clark||2001||Tom Fox||2014|
|Dallas Comegys||1981||Austin Gallagher||2015|
|Glenn Welton||1981||Billy Kramer||2015|
|Jim Capella||1981||Billy Kramer||2015|
|Jim Parrella||1981||Brendan Burns||2015|
|Marc Jones||1981||Chris Clover||2015|
|Marc Jones||1981||Jack Henkels||2015|
|Mike Morris||1981||James Leible||2015|
|Randy Monroe||1981||James McGovern||2015|
|Steve Dangerfield||1981||Mark Scarlett||2015|
|Steve Pettit||1981||Zach Talke||2015|
|Andy Vye||1983||Fintan O'Toole||2016|
|Art Duff||1983||John Kueny||2016|
|Dennis Foley||1983||Keith Williams||2016|
|Joe Doherty||1983||Pete Gayhardt||2016|
|Abe Dunmeyer||1984||Temi Aiyegbusi||2016|
|Brian Duffy||1984||Vincent Luciano||2016|
|Carl Arrigale||1984||Mike Barton||2017|
|Drew Meyers||1984||Matthew Cruz||2017|
|Ed Small||1984||Brian Griffin||2017|
|Hank Weiss||1984||Matt Hartz||2017|
|Joe Gleason||1984||Joseph Paparone||2017|
|Joe McGarvey||1984||Askia Hamilton||2017|
|Marv Dunmeyer||1984||Max Frantz||2017|
|Tom Burke||1984||Vincent Busico||2018|
|M. Kyle Thompson||2018|
ROTATIONS FOR SPEEDY'S CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS
|ROMAN||ROMAN||LA SALLE MEN|
|Mike Bantom||Lonnie McFarlan||Lionel Simmons|
|Mike Moody||Gerald Roberts||Doug Overton|
|Larry Storm||Glenn Welton||Randy Woods|
|John Pindynski||Randy Monroe||Jack Hurd|
|Jim O'Brien||Steve Scheier||Milko Lieverst|
|Key Subs||Key Subs||Key Subs|
|Bill Medina||Steve Pettit||Bobby Johnson|
|Lorenzo Hough||Marc Jones||Bron Holland|
|ROMAN||PENN CHARTER||LA SALLE MEN|
|Jim "Chico" Singleton||Carl Arrigale||Randy Woods|
|Donald Kelly||Marv Dunmeyer||Jack Hurd|
|John Griffin||Drew Meyers||Milko Lieverst|
|Adrian Moody||Joe McGarvey||Bron Holland|
|Rocco Piliero||Ed Small||Jeff Neubauer|
|Key Subs||Key Subs||Key Subs|
|Mike LaPera||Abe Dunmeyer||Paul Burke|
|Marcellus Pringle||Joe Gleason||Blitz Wooten|
|Jim Harrington||Tom "Sleepy" Burke||Luteke Kalombo|
|ROMAN||LA SALLE MEN||SJ PREP|
|Donald Kelly||Lionel Simmons||Mark Zoller|
|John Griffin||Tim Legler||John Griffin|
|Zane Major||Rich Tarr||Chris Clark|
|Mike LaPera||Craig Conlin||T.J. Valerio|
|Adrian Moody||Doug Overton||Kyle Eisenmann|
|Key Subs||Key Subs||Key Sub|
|Marcellus Pringle||Bobby Johnson||John Oberlies|
|Jack Kelly||Ken Palczewski|
|ROMAN||LA SALLE MEN||SJ PREP|
|Reggie Jackson||Lionel Simmons||John Griffin|
|Larry McGill||Doug Overton||Chris Clark|
|Lonnie McFarlan||Jack Hurd||Reggie Redding|
|Charlie Robbins||Craig Conlin||Mike Kearney|
|John "Yosh" Siorek||Milko Lieverst||Jared Black|
|Key Subs||Key Subs||Key Subs|
|Ralph Mack||Bobby Johnson||Corey O'Rourke|
|Mike Lally||Steve Wriedt||Mike Boyle|
|John "Yosh" Siorek|