Mike Morencie has been on the sidelines or in the dugout, coaching local teams to on-field glory for 41 years, with no signs of slowing down. His success and his longevity place him
among the very best coaches Windsor-Essex County has ever known and are his ticket to Hall of Fame induction tonight.
Morencie knows that his path was fortunate, getting exposure to some of the best coaches in the business and he had the common sense to take in as much of the lesson as he could.
“I am not sure there’s a person luckier than myself in this city to have been coached by some of the icons in coaching,” he said. “Most of them are already in the Hall of Fame.”
Morencie points to Father Ronald Cullen, John Upham, Bernie Soulliere, Gerry Philip, Geoff Owens, Godfrey Janisse, Gino Fracas, Harry Lumley, Rick Bauer and Rick Cranker as his mentors and can pinpoint the attributes and skills he picked up from each of them along the way. He also says that he tries to “pay it forward” and shape young coaches but is always careful to allow the new generation of skippers to be their own coach and not a carbon-copy of him.
Morencie, like many coaches, was inspired by those that guided him during his days as an athlete at Assumption High School, where he graduated in 1975. It was also a way for Morencie to extend his relationship with sports. He coached baseball and football but eventually needed to make a choice in the mid-1980s. For Morencie to make coaching a profession, he needed to choose, and he chose football because he saw more potential for growth and advancement.
On the topic of growth, early in Morencie’s career, he focused on wins and losses but as his career evolved he began to see the bigger picture. He pledges to the parents of his players that he’ll make their sons a better person by the end of their time with the team. It is making that sort of difference that stokes Morencie’s fire.
This holistic approach has led Morencie to achieve gridiron success as a head or assistant coach for a variety of teams, including the University of Lancers football team, the Mic-Mac Junior Baseball Club and the AKO Fratmen Junior Football Club. He has coached for 41 years and is still active on the clinic scene. Despite his accomplishments, Morencie knows he can always learn more and he still gets as much enjoyment out of it as he ever did.
“Nothing beats being on the practice field and taking a group of young men who all have different goals and defining their goals and bringing them together as a cohesive unit and not an individual,” Morencie said. “The moment I believe my relevancy is waning, I’ll walk away. No one will have to tell me.”
Morencie feels honoured to be included among his mentors and he will rightly join their ranks in the Windsor Essex-County Hall of Fame this October. Congratulations, coach.