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Hurricanes Hire Mark Morris As New Head Coach Of Charlotte Checkers

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Morris led Manchester Monarchs to AHL playoffs in 7 of 8 years

Mark Morris will be the new boss of the Checkers
Mark Morris will be the new boss of the Checkers
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis went for experience as he hired Mark Morris to be the new head coach of the Charlotte Checkers.

Morris won 300 plus games while leading the AHL Manchester Monarchs and also won over 300 games while coaching Clarkson in the NCAA.  Last season, he served as assistant coach for the Florida Panthers.

On Wednesday, Francis said that he wanted to get this hire wrapped up by the end of the week so that the new coach could get to meet the prospects next week, and that's exactly what he did.

It's hard to think of a better hire.  The team's press release follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 3, 2015

‘CANES HIRE MARK MORRIS AS AHL HEAD COACH

Veteran coach had a 338-224-66 record with Manchester

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has hired Mark Morris as the Head Coach of its American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. In addition, the team has re-signed Geordie Kinnear as Charlotte’s assistant coach.

"Mark is an experienced head coach whose teams never had a losing record in 21 seasons at Clarkson and with Manchester," said Francis. "He is a proven teacher of the game who has been a part of developing successful NHL players."

Morris, 57, spent the 2014-15 season as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers. Prior to that, he spent eight seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, compiling a career regular-season record of 338-224-66. He owns Manchester’s franchise records for regular-season games coached (552), wins (338) and post-season wins (35), and his teams advanced to the Calder Cup playoffs in seven of his eight seasons. In his final season with Manchester in 2013-14, the Monarchs went 48-19-9.

During his time with the Monarchs, Morris coached a number of players who went on to successful NHL careers, including 13 players on the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Among the NHL players whose development was aided by Morris, either in the AHL or college, are Erik Cole, Willie Mitchell, Craig Conroy, Jonathan Quick, Alec Martinez, Kyle Clifford, Matt Moulson, Brian Boyle, Tim Jackman and Teddy Purcell.

On the college level, Morris led Clarkson University to a record of 306-156-42 in 504 career regular-season games, and a playoff record of 39-19-1. He holds Clarkson school records for wins, and is the only coach to compile more than 300 wins at both the collegiate and professional levels. The Golden Knights appeared in the NCAA tournament nine times in Morris’ 14 years at Clarkson, advancing to the Frozen Four in 1991.

In addition to his head coaching positions, Morris gained experience as a special assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach with the Vancouver Canucks. He also served as an interim assistant coach with the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit and in assistant coaching roles for Union College and St. Lawrence University. Originally from Massena, NY, Morris was a defenseman as a player, skating collegiately at Colgate before playing professionally for New Haven of the AHL and Dallas of the Central Hockey League.