NCAA hockey: St. Lawrence names Mark Morris as head coach
CANTON, N.Y. -- St. Lawrence announced on Tuesday that Mark Morris has been named the third Charles W. Appleton II Hockey Coach and 14th overall in the men’s hockey program effective immediately. Currently, Morris serves as head coach for the Charlotte Checkers, a team in the American Hockey League (AHL) and affiliate for the National Hockey League (NHL) Carolina Hurricanes. Men’s ice hockey is a NCAA Division I sport at St. Lawrence and member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
Morris was selected for the position with the assistance of a 13-person search committee that included three current students on the men’s hockey team, members of the Athletics department, four professors, a University trustee, a vice president of the University, and alumni hockey representation.
“The success of our men’s hockey program both on the ice and in the classroom attracted a very strong applicant pool. The committee was very diligent in its efforts to recommend the right coach for our program,” Bob Durocher, director of intercollegiate sports and recreation, said. “The program has a solid history of playing strong in the very competitive ECAC. This year’s team of student-athletes worked hard athletically and academically, with 15 of the 27 players on this year’s roster achieving overall GPAs of 3.0 or higher. We are confident these achievements will continue under the leadership of Coach Morris.”
In addition to the AHL, Morris’ experience includes coaching positions for teams in the NHL and NCAA Division I. He holds the unique distinction of being the only coach to have won 300 college games and over 300 professional games. He is the seventh all-time winningest coach in the AHL and has the third highest win total among active AHL coaches. In the NHL, Morris earned two Stanley Cup rings while developing players for the Los Angeles Kings and also served as an assistant coach for the Florida Panthers.
While coaching in the ECAC, Morris has won five regular season championships and three tournament championships. Morris’ teams had appeared in nine NCAA tournaments including 3 quarterfinals and one Frozen Four. During that time he coached 12 future NHL players, nine All-Americans, five Olympians, and three Hobey Baker finalists. Morris earned ECAC Coach of the Year honors two times.
“Coaching at St. Lawrence alongside assistant coach Don Vaughan and under head coach Joe Marsh from 1985-1988 resulted in unforgettable memories for me, culminating with the 1988 NCAA Frozen Four title game in Lake Placid. St. Lawrence University hockey has produced legends in the game, and getting to know the storied tradition started during those years,” Morris said.
“As a student-athlete at Colgate University (’81), I had the honor of playing for the late Terry Slater ’61, head coach and St. Lawrence alumnus, who remained a friend and mentor to me until his untimely passing. He was instrumental in my decision to pursue coaching as a profession. My experience here at St. Lawrence and my roots in the North Country have drawn me back to Saints hockey, college hockey, and the ECAC. I am deeply honored to be selected as the next coach for Saints men’s hockey. ”
Joe Marsh, who served as head coach at St. Lawrence for 26 years, said of Morris, “Mark is a great friend and a great fit for St. Lawrence. The years ahead look bright.”
In the search process, Morris also received support from NHL general managers, AHL general managers, current and former ECAC hockey coaches, former professional and college players, and the current Clarkson University president.
“Of course everyone knows which side of the rivalry line I stand on when Clarkson and St. Lawrence play hockey,” Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University, said. “But I’m pleased to see Mark Morris back in the North Country coaching hockey.”
“I am excited to welcome Mark back into the ECAC. His wealth of experience and success at every level of hockey will provide St. Lawrence with one of the top coaching minds in the business. I look forward to competing once again with Mark’s teams,” Bob Gaudet, head coach for men’s hockey at Dartmouth College, said.
“Mark Morris is a winner. He has a proven track record of success at all levels of hockey from prep school to college and then professional. This will serve him well as he returns to the ECAC and college hockey,” Don Vaughan ‘84, head coach for men’s hockey at Colgate University, commented. “More than that he clearly understands what it takes for student athletes to be successful both on and off the ice at a highly selective University like St. Lawrence. I look forward to competing against his team’s in years to come.”