Ian Clark's On Hockey: Milestone victory for Monarchs' Morris
Mark Morris watches late in the third period as he wins his 300th AHL game as head coach of the Manchester Monarchs at the Verizon Wireless Arena,n Manchester on Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Morris collected his 300th professional coaching win Wednesday when his Manchester Monarchs defeated Norfolk 3-1. Morris is the only coach to ever win 300 regular season games at both the professional and college levels.
"If you look at coaching records, my college coaching career was cut short so there wasn't an opportunity to go back to college coaching. I often wonder where it would have gone," Morris reflected. "You've got to turn the page and move forward. This is a tough business. I guess if you're long in the tooth, the numbers pile up. I've landed in a good spot here."
"Mark's a good friend. He's a great coach. He was a great college coach. I mean, nobody else has done what he's done. It's unbelievable," said University of New Hampshire coach Dick Umile. "That says an awful lot with all the people who have been coaching at both the college and professional levels, so congratulations to him. (He's a) great guy."
"All of a sudden you find yourself literally driving the bus and babysitting your own kids at the prep school where you were the third choice. It's funny how things unfold," Morris said. "I remember that really well. ... some of those railroad crossings I forgot to stop at as we were driving around with guys in their hockey gear. It was a fun time. It reminded me why you're in the business to begin with."
"I'm still emotional, but at the same time I'm more savvy to know you can't control everything," he said. "I've realized that at this age, when you admit your frailties, you can endear yourself to your players. As a young coach, oftentimes guys are striving for milestones to prove they're a somebody. In the end, it's the relationships that you build. Watching teams and individuals grow is the most satisfying."
Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.