JOHN CHANEY has been close friends with Speedy Morris for years. That, however, is not why the Hall of Fame coach decided he wanted his friend to join him in Springfield, Mass. Chaney just looked at Morris' accomplishments in basketball and decided he deserved it.

St. Joseph's Prep announced Wednesday that Chaney has nominated its head coach, Morris, to the Hall of Fame. The Hall really likes unique at any level of the sport and no coach has a resume like Speedy's.

Morris was the first person to coach a Division I women's and then men's team. He won big in both places, first with the La Salle women and then the men. His first four men's teams at La Salle won 100 games. Only Hall of Famers Everett Case and Jim Boeheim had ever done that.

The numbers really are overwhelming - 904 wins with Roman Catholic, Penn Charter, La Salle women, La Salle men and St. Joseph's Prep. If you counted his CYO wins, he would be well beyond 1,000.

No coach has won more high school games in Philadelphia than Speedy (623). No coach won more games at La Salle (238) or the Prep (235). Each team he coached won its league championship in his second year on the job after years or decades of winning nothing. His teams at Roman and the Prep have won eight Catholic League titles. He has been a head basketball coach for 44 years.

The Hall of Fame voters really have shown a penchant for unique. Speedy's career is definitely unique.

"I don't think anybody who's ever coached ever thinks he'd be nominated or get in when you started out,'' Morris said. "It's up to the committee now. I respect whatever decision they make. If they think I'm worthy, think I've got the body of work, it's up to them.''

Morris won game No. 900 on Feb. 3. Chaney and fellow Hall of Famer Pete Carril were there. Chaney decided then that it was time for the Hall.

"They were in the locker room, kidding around with the kids,'' Morris remembered. "The papers come out with the 900th win. I get a call from John for Keith [his oldest son].''

Chaney told Speedy to get Keith to give him a call without telling him what it was about. So Keith called Chaney, who told him, "It's time.''

Chaney wanted Keith to do the legwork for his father's nomination. A letter was sent out under Chaney's name asking for testimonials. Eventually, Keith put a package together that included more than 45 letters. It was sent off to the Hall of Fame.

A list of finalists will be revealed early next year; those who are elected will be announced at the Final Four.

'I've got John Chaney to thank,'' Speedy said. "Just to read those letters, are they talking about me? Kind of brings tears to your eyes, some of the things they said.''

When Morris was done at La Salle, he was not done. He wanted to coach. He went right back to where he started.

"Speedy's success on the floor is obvious and legendary," said 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."

Speedy is a character with character. His stand-up routine at banquets is legendary. So is his love of the three-point shot. He coached great players and made average players into great teams. His family is a part of his team and his teams became families.

The numbers are impressive. So are the accomplishments and the longevity. But they are just part of the story. The Speedy Morris story is contained in all those letters about the life of a man who was just nominated to the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame.