Morris Responds to Firing

Recently-fired [nl]Clarkson coach Mark Morris made a statement to the media following Friday’s Golden Knights game. The following is a verbatim transcript of that statement:

“Today I was informed by the Clarkson Administration that my position as Men’s Hockey Coach at Clarkson has been terminated. Out of respect and commitment to all the players past, present and future who’ve had the privilege of wearing the Golden Knights hockey jersey, I’ve not made any public statements about this incident. I’m holding this press conference to set the record straight for my family, friends, and all the people that have supported me over 15 years, and especially over the last two weeks.

“This was a done deal before the investigation even started, or so it appeared. Clarkson had contacted their attorney about my termination before the investigation was started. After obtaining legal advice, I chose not to participate in the investigation because it was not independent. It was conducted by Clarkson’s own law firm which had already been consulted about my termination.

“Here’s exactly what happened. As is customary, we play shinny after our pre-game skate. I had been struck once prior by one of my players into the boards. I skated over to the player, put my arm around his shoulder and made a comment to him. The second time he hit me was during our shinny game, we play four on four. I felt as though I was being threatened, and I attempted to defend myself. I told the player to take his things out of the locker. And in 15 seasons I’ve played shinny with a lot of guys and I’ve never been body checked into the boards before. We’ve had some games that have gotten pretty heated over time but never have been body checked into the boards by a player.

“It was apparent to me he was dissatisfied that he would not be playing in the [nl]St. Lawrence game, due to some decisions that were made. On Monday I was informed by my athletic director he was going to handle it between me
and the player, and that the incident would not cost me my job. Meanwhile the administration had already been in touch with their law firm about my termination.

“There’s been an overwhelming outpouring of love, support and affection shown to us during this tumultuous time in our lives. The support has come from many friends in the North Country, college hockey coaches from around
the United States and Canada at all levels, alumni, past players and the Clarkson hockey family. We take great solace in knowing that so many people care about us. The calls, e-mails, letters and cards of support and the people who have stopped by our home or given us the thumbs up when we pass them on the streets helped to pick up our spirits and has given us strength to endure during this time.

“The staff currently in place, Fred Parker, Jason Lammers and Mike McCourt are top notch hockey coaches. They know the game. They know how to teach it, they know how to coach it. They all have exceptional communications skills and are excellent mentors for the players. They are great recruiters. They are more qualified to continue in this role of guiding the program forward. I spent almost the entire summer interviewing assistant coach candidates to make certain Clarkson hockey would have quality people as recruiters and coaches and to solidify the future of the program.”