Speedy vs Bobby: The Legend and the Rookie

Speedy Morris is a Philadelphia basketball coaching legend. He began his head-coaching career at Roman Catholic HS. His teams were dominant. Speedy went 347-82 from 1967-1981. After that, he manned the sidelines at Penn Charter, going 41-14 from 1982-84. Then in a surprising move, he took over the La Salle University women’s team. Of course, he won… going 43-17 from 1984-86.

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Speedy Morris and La Salle great Lionel Simmons

Morris was ultimately given the reigns of the La Salle men’s team and went 238-203 from 1986-2001. Under Morris, the Explorers reached the postseason six times, including four NCAA appearances. His best La Salle team featured national player of the year Lionel Simmons and finished 30-2. They ended the year, ranked No. 12 in the nation.  In 2002, he took over at St. Joe’s Prep, where he is 321-109.

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Speedy Morris following his 300th win at SJ Prep

Morris has won eight Catholic League titles (6 at Roman, 2 at the Prep). He also won an Inter-Ac championship at Penn Charter. Morris has been inducted into the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame, the La Salle University Hall of Athletes, the Big 5 Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He is the winningest coach in Catholic League history.

Bobby Jordan is my friend. Bobby Jordan is NOT a coaching legend. A true Philly hoophead, Jordan was a point guard at Roman Catholic before playing for Bruiser Flint at Drexel. Immediately after his playing career was over, Jordan joined the staff at his alma mater. He worked in administrative capacities before being named an assistant coach.

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Girard College Coach, Bob Jordan

When Flint was let go at Drexel, Jordan was named Athletic Director at Girard College. He hired veteran coach Clyde Jones who immediately led Girard College to the PIAA Class A state championship game. A successful first year, by any reasonable measure. Jones, however, resigned abruptly after the season ended.

Jordan leaned on his Roman Catholic connections to lure Philly Legend Donnie Carr away from Hartford University. Carr was named Head Coach and the Cavaliers looked to be perfectly situated to build upon the successful foundation laid by Clyde Jones.

Then John Giannini threw a monkey wrench into Jordan’s carefully laid plans. La Salle University offered Carr an Assistant Coaching position at his alma mater… His dream job! Jordan and everyone else in the Philadelphia basketball community were ecstatic for Carr.

But… Jordan, the Athletic Director was forced to identify a third Head Coach for the Girard College program in a little over a year. Despite their success, the program was in need of stability. Bobby Jordan the Athletic Director decided to hire Bobby Jordan to coach the team.

That’s how my friend found himself in his first game as a Head Coach facing the legendary Speedy Morris. Oh yeah… This game is also a battle for Girard Avenue bragging rights. If you throw a stone over the wall from the Girard College campus it will likely hit a car in the St. Joe’s Prep parking lot.

Speedy vs Bobby

Welcome to the head coaching ranks Bob! It was a great game… Tightly contested throughout… The headliners lived up to their billings… Mikal Jones and Daquan Copeland led a valiant effort by Girard. Big Ed Croswell bumped and banged his way to 22 points to lead St. Jospeh’s Prep. In the end, it came down to the final play…

The game was tied 56-56 with 10 seconds to go and then this happened…

 

With that… the legend knocked off the rookie! Speedy, for now is King of Girard Avenue!

However, I like my youngin Bob’s performance. His team was prepared… His team NEVER backed down…

Stay tuned… Girard College is in good hands!

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