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Morris shows interest in job

TIMES SPORTSWRITER
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Among the names being rumored to be considered for the Clarkson University men's hockey head coaching position is Massena native Mark Morris, who is Clarkson's all-time winningest coach.


Clarkson fired Morris's replacement, George Roll, last month and is conducting a national search for a replacement.


Morris, who was fired by the school in 2002, has reportedly shown interest in the position.


When reached Tuesday at his home near Massena, Morris said he could not comment because he's under contract to the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings.


Clarkson is expected to start the process of selecting coaches for interviews sometime next week.


Morris coaches the Kings' top minor league affiliate, the American Hockey League's Manchester Monarchs. He has led the Monarchs to four playoff appearances in five years and two appearances in the AHL's semifinal round. Prior to his arrival, Manchester had never won a playoff series.


He coached at Clarkson from 1988-2002 and led the Golden Knights to a 306-156-42 record, including three ECAC Hockey Tournament championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. He was also coach of Clarkson's last Frozen Four team in 1991.


But Morris did not have a pleasant exit from the school in the fall of 2002. It was alleged he made physical contact with a player during a pickup game after a practice and he was fired from his position about a week later. He later sued the school to recover money still owed him on his contract and it was settled in the summer of 2003 for an undisclosed amount.


Many of the people in positions of authority at Clarkson during that time no longer work for the school, including former president Denny Brown and former athletic director Sean Frazier.


It is not known how the school would react to a Morris comeback and athletic director Steve Yianoukos is out of town until midweek and could not be reached.


Morris is not the only name that is either believed to be interested or has already confirmed interest in the Clarkson job.


Former Golden Knight defenseman Phil Roy is believed to be interested in the job. Roy, an assistant at Merrimack College, said he could not comment because he is under contract at his current school.


Another person believed to be interested in the position is Canton native Mark Taylor, the head coach of Hobart College, an NCAA Division III institution. Taylor could not be reached for comment.


Denver assistant Derek Lalonde, a St. Lawrence county native, said Tuesday that he has sent in an application for the position.


"I'm from Brasher Falls, that's always home for me and always will be," Lalonde said. "I grew up with (Clarkson) in my backyard. No doubt it excites me."


Lalonde hopes to be the next in a line of past Denver assistants who have become successful NCAA Division I coaches. The last two Pioneer assistants to become head coaches are Miami (Ohio)'s Rico Blasi and Rensselaer's Seth Appert, whom Lalonde replaced.


"I came here to Denver to become a head coach," Lalonde said. "Any move I've ever made throughout my college career is about preparing myself to be as ready as possible when that time comes. I'm hoping that time comes."


After his prep career at St. Lawrence Central, Lalonde was a goalie at Division III SUNY Cortland.


He was a graduate assistant at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams from 1995-98, then spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Division III Hamilton College. Lalonde then got his first Division I assistant position at Ferris State, where he coached for four years before landing in Denver.


"It will be up-tempo," Lalonde said of the style of play he'd bring to Clarkson. "We take a lot of pride in playing an up-tempo style of play at Denver because it attracts recruits. I never want a kid to come to a game concerned about our style of play."


Two people who were originally thought to be interested in the Clarkson job, former Golden Knight assistant coaches Ron Rolston and Casey Jones, are now reportedly not interested in the position.

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