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College Hockey:
Morris, Clarkson Settle Suit

— Clarkson University and ousted coach Mark Morris reached a settlement today on Morris’ lawsuit against the school.

The settlement came as Day 3 of Morris’ suit — for breach of contract and defamation — was about the begin. After a day of jury selection and opening arguments, Morris and four of his witnesses took the stand on Day 2 of the trial.

Per terms of the agreement, neither side is allowed to discuss the terms of the settlement.

“A lof of hockey people up here are glad it’s behind them, for both parties,” said Bob Ahlfeld, Clarkson broadcaster and sports director at WPDM in Potsdam, N.Y.

Morris was fired in November for incidents that took place during a morning practice involving Golden Knights forward Zach Schwan. Morris was accused of getting into a physical confrontation Schwan. The school fired Morris after a 10-day investigation.

Others testifying on Day 2 were St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, Clarkson trainer Jim Bunstone, Clarkson vice president in charge of athletics Gary Kelly and Clarkson goaltender Mike Walsh.

Bunstone testified that he saw Schwan “slew-foot” Morris during the practice, and could sense tension brewing. He left the practice before the ultimate incident took place.

Kelley was called to testify in response to allegations that he tipped Morris off in a conversation during the 10-day investigation that he was going to be fired. One of Morris’ points of contention in the lawsuit was that Clarkson had pre-determined his fate before the investigation began.

Marsh was there to testify about the nature of hockey practices.

Morris was “defiant” during his testimony, according to the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times. The paper said he “often skirt[ed] direct questions and tr[ied] to control his cross-examination.”

Morris filed one lawsuit seeking in excess of $10 million in damages based on lost future earnings. He was also asking to be reinstated as head coach at Clarkson, though the position was since filled by his former assistant, George Roll.

He also filed another lawsuit for $1 million in damages for breach of contract.

“We think the decision was made somewhere along the line and that the incident served as a quicksilver event that allowed the university to put its plan into action,” said his lawyer, John Piasecki, at the time.


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