Jason Harrigan is looking forward to his new position as head basketball coach at St. Joseph’s Prep. Harrigan will be taking over a terrific basketball program that was under the tutelage of legendary coach Bill “Speedy” Morris who retired this after guiding the Prep for 18 seasons. He’s well aware of Morris’ stellar coaching career at the Prep where he posted an impressive 366-140 record.
“That is not easy,” Harrigan said. “Speedy [Morris] is a legend personified from his wins, over 1,000 wins [career] to the relationships he’s built. He’s been in the city a long time.
“He’s built some great relationships. I just admire hearing some of his players speak about their interactions, relationships and some of their bonds. I heard some people say I’m going to replace him. If I could get half as many wins as he got, I think I’ll be doing a great job. I’m excited about the opportunity to have Speedy now as a mentor and being able to follow in his footsteps.”
Harrigan brings more than a decade of coaching experience to this position. He’s familiar with the Catholic League. He spent two seasons as head coach at Cardinal O’Hara from 2016 to 2018. Harrigan knows how competitive the Catholic League is year after year.
“I love the league,” said Harrigan, who had a 16-29 overall record in two seasons with the Lions. “It starts with the traditions of the schools. The makeup, camaraderie, schools and that rivalry is really exciting. It’s not too many atmospheres that rival the Catholic League especially when we start talking about the Palestra and those type of things.”
Harrigan, a graduate of Florida A&M University, holds a degree in finance and worked at JP Morgan Chase & Co. before leaving to pursue a career in education. Since that time, he has worked as a math teacher at two different schools, in the admissions office at Del-Val Charter and is currently a positive behavior intervention and support coach with the School District of Philadelphia.
Harrigan’s coaching career really took off in 2016 when he was the head basketball coach at Del-Val Charter, which is closed now. He led Del-Val Charter to the Public League and the city championship in 2016.
“That was special for me,” Harrigan said. “Del-Val gave me an opportunity to coach. Being a part of Philadelphia basketball was so special to me because it’s a great basketball city. Just getting an opportunity to coach in the Public League was an honor for me.
“When we actually won it was the year that the school district announced our school was going to shutdown. So our moral was really low around the building. We used basketball, and that team, to galvanize all the students, staff members, parents and everybody would come to the games to celebrate. We ended up [with] 20 wins in a row and it just seemed like a cultural change to motivate and inspire an entire community.”
For the last two seasons Harrigan has served as an assistant basketball coach at Camden High School under Vic Carstarphen his first season and Rick Brunson his second season.
“It allowed me to stay connected,” Harrigan said. “[I stayed] connected to a team and [worked] on my craft, but to have Vic Carstarphen and Rick Brunson who are [Temple University] legends in their own right, they have a wealth of knowledge. We were 29-1 this past year. Rick did an excellent job. I learned a lot from those guys.”
St. Joseph’s Prep assistant principal Josh Rorer feels Harrigan is a good fit for the program.
“I am very excited to have a coach with Jason’s skills as our next head basketball coach at the Prep,” said Rorer, who chaired the search committee for the position in a statement. “For nearly two decades, our basketball program has been in the incredibly capable hands of Speedy Morris and I believe that Jason is the right person to take the reins and continue its success.”