Legendary coach 'Speedy' Morris to retire amid battle with Parkinson's disease

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After more than a half-century, 52 years coaching basketball, William "Speedy" Morris is retiring at the end of the season as head coach of St. Joseph's Preparatory School.

"I'm sad to leave, gonna miss it a lot. When you love something, it's hard to say goodbye, very tough," Morris said.

Morris has the most wins in Prep history and the most wins in La Salle University men's history, where he spent 15 seasons. He also has the top winning percentage in Roman Catholic High School history, too.

The 77-year-old doesn't want to walk away but his four-year battle with Parkinson's disease has taken its toll.

"It is a tough decision, can't do it anymore," Morris said, recalling a recent story about how he almost was run over on the sidelines this week because the kids are too fast.

Morris broke the news in an emotional meeting on Monday with the support of his close friend and former Temple coach Fran Dunphy ,as well as his best player from La Salle, Lionel Simmons, by his side.

St. Joe's Prep captain Trevor Wall said, "It was pretty emotional. Coach probably doesn't want me to say it, but he got a little emotional. He teared up a little bit."

Morris talked about his career and the impact he had on players and schools.

Fellow team captain Chris Arizin said, "He talked about his career and how much the Prep meant to him. It was really emotional, seeing all the people that he impacted."

The trophies and awards that filled his office at Prep where he has spent the last 18 years is a glimpse into his legendary career: over 1,000 career wins, 14 championships in high school and college, 11 Hall of Fame inductions.

"So many great memories," Morris said.

Of all the accomplishments, the Manayunk native is most proud of helping shape the lives of kids.

Speedy Morris' Resume:

St. Joseph's Prep, 355-128 (18 seasons)

Most wins in school history

2 PCL championships

2012 4A City Champions/4A PCL Champions

2013 PIAA State Semifinalist

La Salle Univ. (men), 238-202 (15 seasons)

Most wins in school history

4 league championships

4 NCAA Tournaments

2 NIT Tournaments

La Salle Univ. (women), 43-17 (2 seasons)

1 league championship

1 NCAA Tournament

Penn Charter, 41-14 (2 seasons)

1 Inter-Ac Championship

Roman Catholic, 347-82 (14 seasons)

6 PCL Championships

8 Southern Division Championships

Best Winning % of any coach in school history


1,024 wins, 443 losses

14 league/conference championships
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