Legendary basketball coach Speedy Morris has retired after 52 seasons.
Here is what some basketball people say about Morris’ legacy:
Archbishop Wood coach John Mosco: “He is Philadelphia basketball. Great coach, great educator, great mentor. I coached with Carl Arrigale who played for him and Speedy took me in like he coached me. He is special to my heart.”
Former St. Anthony of Jersey City coach Bob Hurley: “He’s a lifer and I mean that in the most positive way. He’s done it for so long and he’s done it so well. It’s astounding that he had that kind of success at those different levels."
Timber Creek (N.J.) coach Rich Bolds, who played at Ben Franklin High: “He’s had a career that’s reached legendary status, a feat many coaches could only dream of having. All the prestige and accolades he’s gotten he certainly deserves. Basketball will miss him on the sideline.”
Holy Cross Prep (N.J.) coach John Valore, a Southern High graduate: “He showed me sets back when he was at Roman Catholic and I’m still running them.”
Westttown coach Seth Berger, on coaching against Morris at a summer event: “To say his team gave mine a clinic in how to run offense would be like saying Dr. J could jump a little bit. After two timeouts and about eight minutes, I think my team forced its first contested shot, which Steve Vasturia made anyway.”
Neumann-Goretti coach Carl Arrigale, who played for Morris at Penn Charter: “He had a knack for making you feel like you were part of his family.”
Former La Salle, Maine and Rowan coach John Giannini: “Coach Morris is a role model for all coaches as the best of family men and a true friend to so many. I absolutely love him and his family for all their support over the years.”
Archbishop Carroll coach Francis Bowe: “Coach Morris’ reputation as a skilled Xs and Os coach helped make him one of the best to walk the sideline but he truly is an even better man. I consider coaching against him one of the highlights of my career and I’ll never forget it.”
La Salle College High School coach Mike McKee: “There’s Rocky. There’s the Liberty Bell. There’s Speedy. I can’t wait to see the movie.”
Math, Civics and Sciences coach Lonnie Diggs: “Speedy was a great coach, consistently has his teams well prepared and always was willing to help us younger coaches with anything when we needed a hand.”
Bonner-Prendergast coach Kevin Funston, who played for Morris at St. Joseph’s Prep: “Coach Morris is a legendary coach but an even better person. The game of basketball is significantly better because of the impact of Coach Morris and I feel extremely lucky to have learned from the greatest.”
Atlantic City (N.J.) coach Gene Allen: “Speedy Morris is our version of Morgan Wooten or Bobby Hurley. For me, he is the epitome of coaches. I remember my dad taking me to the Palestra watching him coach. He is one of the many reasons why I wanted to be a coach.”
St. Augustine (N.J.) Prep coach Paul Rodio, South Jersey’s all-time leader with more than 900 career victories: “The first word I think of is ‘consistency.’ It’s one thing to coach 50-plus years. It’s another thing to coach 50-plus years and year-in and year-out to turn our good teams and players who go on to college and have success in life. He’s been the model for coaches like me.”