Morley Kells, the exhuberant, fiery coach of the Tomahawks is out to do it again. Win another NLL Championship. Probably the most progressive man in the game, Kells relentlessly pursues the dream that lacrosse, the last undeveloped team sport in North America, will be elevated to sophisticated professionalism. He eats, sleeps and breathes it. And last year’s record proves that he’s not far off.
That’s also why he’s Coach and General Manager of the Championship team in the young, six team League. A Torontonian, he has spent the past 23 years trying to improve the game he first played at 16 and gave up for coaching at 24. Physically small, but mentally large, he deplored the pitting of the big man against the little one with brutality as the main objective. As he saw It, the game was then pointless. Along with Bruce Norris, owner of the Tomahawks and Jim Bishop, now coach of the Montreal Quebecois, he created the NLL 2 years ago. While streamlining the game by emphasizing speed and finesse, the Kells and Bishop duo developed rule changes and innovations that would minimize sheer strength and emphasize brains and talent. The nets would be enlarged to force the defense to move out, prevent jamming in one zone and throw the game wide open.
Players would have to shoot the ball within 30 seconds of gaining possession to reduce stoppages in play. All in all, a fast-break, end-to-end, crowd leasing sport. Their streamlined version indeed caught on in 1974 and will be more popular t is season. Perhaps the most analytical coach in the game today, Kells looks at his Tomahawk team for 1975. “My whole philosophy on lacrosse is dictated on the offense doing things to the opposition and not worrying about them doing it to us, although we have ways to prevent this. Our offense begins in goal, and we have to have a goalie who likes to come out and play with the others, be mobile and able to throw the long pass accurately. We have exactly that in Merv Marshall he adds. “To compliment them, and our fast break system, we and Tim Barrie this season,” have some of the best breakaway men in the game, most of who possess the flexibility to play more than one position equally as well” says Kells with a confident glow. “All the ingredients we had last year .
At age 39, a husband and father of four, Coach Morley Kells has an outstanding lacrosse back- ground. As a player, he starred on the Long Branch Monarchs, Canadian Junior Champions in 1955. He continued playing in Canadian Leagues until 1961 when he began his coaching career which saw him develop Championship teams in several leagues. He was the recipient of the first Lester B. Pearson Award in Canada in 1972. The award is given annually, in the name of the late Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner to the person who has contributed significantly to the promotion and development of the game of lacrosse in Canada. And to top these major achievements, he guided his (Rochester Griffins) to the first NLL Championship last season, and is determined to hold onto the Nations Trophy for a while longer. Whatever the result, Long Island fans are in for the most exciting brand of lacrosse ever seen this summer.