Confirming rumors that have been floating around the college hockey Twittersphere for the last few days, the Hurricanes announced Tuesday that Charlotte Checkers coach Mark Morris has resigned his position to accept the head coaching position at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
Morris spent three seasons as an assistant coach at St. Lawrence, his alma mater, in the 1980s, before becoming the head coach of the Saints' arch rivals, Clarkson University, for fourteen years prior to his departure in 2002. In his one season with the Checkers, Morris posted a 36-32-8 record, missing the AHL playoffs on the last day of the season. The Checkers spent the first half of the season in a playoff spot before a late-January swoon left them fighting for their playoff lives through the rest of the year.
"We respect Mark’s decision to return home to coach at St. Lawrence," Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said in a statement. "We thank him for his work in Charlotte this season and wish him nothing but the best with the Saints." Eight players from the Checkers' opening night roster made their NHL debuts with the Canes in 2015-16, including three players who spent at least half the year in the NHL: Phil Di Giuseppe (41 games), Jaccob Slavin (63) and Brett Pesce (69).
The Checkers are now embarking on their second coaching search in as many seasons. Morris was hired following the reassignment of Jeff Daniels into the Canes' scouting department after the 2014-15 season.