Men’s basketball | July 14, 2022
PHILADELPHIA CREAM – Speedy Morris, a member of La Salle University’s Hall of Athletes and former head coach of men’s and women’s basketball, has been named one of four recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award.
Joining Morris is former Belmont men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd, Big East Conference commissioner Val Ackerman and Florida State men’s basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton. The ceremony will take place on September 16 in New York.
The winningest coach in La Salle history, Morris spent 15 years (1986-2001) in charge of the Explorer men’s basketball team. Morris also spent two seasons in charge of the women’s basketball team (1984-86), becoming the first Division I coach to lead both the men’s and women’s programs. In his combined 17 years on the sidelines, he tallied 281 wins, including 238 in his tenure with the men’s program.
Morris led the women to great success in her two seasons at the helm, compiling a 43-17 record that included a 21-9 mark in 1985-86 en route to a MAAC championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. .
Cheryl Reeve, current head coach of the United States Women’s National Team and four-time WNBA champion as coach of the Minnesota Lynx, began her career under Morris’ tutelage and completed her four seasons with the Explorers ranked second in career assists and steals.
On the men’s side, Morris led the Explorers to six playoff appearances, including four NCAA Tournament berths and four MAAC championships. In the 1989-90 season, led by consensus All-American and National Player of the Year Lionel Simmons, Morris and the Explorers finished with a 30-2 record and won the third straight MAAC. Racking up a 22-game winning streak, the Explorers finished the season ranked 12th in the latest Associated Press poll.
Morris also guided the Explorers to the NIT Finals in his first season in 1987, the start of six consecutive playoff berths.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Morris is steeped in Philadelphia basketball history. In addition to his success at 20th & Olney, Morris is also the winningest coach in Philadelphia Catholic League history.
Prior to college, Morris had stints at Roman Catholic High School (1968-81) and Penn Charter (1981-85). Morris also spent 19 years on the fringes of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School after his spell at La Salle from 2001 until his retirement after the 2020 season.
Morris is the first and only coach in Pennsylvania State history to win 300 games with two schools. Over his long career, Morris has scored over 1,000 victories, earning his 1,000th victory on January 12, 2018.
Off the pitch, Morris’ legacy is just as strong. He was a founding member of the Philly 6 Coaches vs. Cancer effort while bringing the movement back with him to the high school level. He helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research and was a vital part of the local American Cancer Society movement.
Morris has been inducted into 11 Halls of Fame, including the La Salle Hall of Athletes in 2010. Morris received the Morgan Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, an award that honors high school coaches who have dedicated their lives to the game and had a huge influence on their players and their communities.
This is the 14th year the award will be presented to those who have exhibited the traits of Lapchick, who coached at St. John’s and with the New York Knicks.
Follow La Salle Men’s Basketball on social media to stay up to date on the Explorers – @LaSalle_MBB on Twitter and @lasallembb on Instagram.