MORRISTOWN – Since Bill Connolly became Morristown High School’s boys basketball coach in 2011-12, the county’s most historically successful program has flourished again.
Four Morris County Tournament semifinals appearances in six tries so far, a finals appearance in 2014, a trip to a state sectional final for the first time since 1973, and three divisional titles are all some of Connolly’s achievements to date.
But the former Mendham assistant in that program’s late-2000s heyday added another laurel on Thursday evening, as Connolly won his 100th game as Morristown’s head coach when his Colonials defeated Westfield, 61-51, in the Len Sepanak Memorial Tournament consolation bracket at Ridge High School. Connolly’s record at Morristown entering Saturday night’s Sepanak finale vs. Elizabeth is now 100-56.
“From this season’s perspective, I am very glad we got a quality win over a Group 4 Union County school like Westfield. I’m happy for our guys, and they beat what I think is a very good team” Connolly said.
From a bigger picture perspective, elevating the Colonials basketball program to its perennial status as one of Morris County’s best is something he attributes to many of his former players that have gone through the program.
“I think a great example of that kind of guy is Ryan Brunnock,” Connolly said. “He was part of the program before I got here, played on my first team, and was a senior on our first really good team that won a conference title (in 2012-13.) Now he’s graduated from Villanova and is now one of our assistant coaches. I am pleased that many of our alumni like Ryan become successful after graduation and invested in our program.”
The record book is 109 years long at Morristown, and while Jim McIntyre – who coached Morristown from 1919 through 1954, sans the 1940-41 season – seems to be safe at the top with his 416 wins, Connolly’s next milestone is on the horizon, as he will likely pass Walt Mikorski (105 wins) to move to 4th on the all-time list very soon.
“Our school has had many great teams, coaches, and players way long before coached at Morristown,” said Connolly. “To be part of some successful teams, successful experiences, and to have many of those kids from the past go onto have successful careers is something that makes you feel good.’
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