The 2022-23 season will mark Pat Clatchey’s 31st season as the head coach of the varsity basketball team at Mount Saint Joseph. Clatchey won his 750th game as the head coach of the Gaels in February and now sits at 754-253 overall. Mount Saint Joseph has put together 28 straight winning seasons under Clatchey, who has won 10 Baltimore Catholic League regular-season championships and eight tournament titles.

Former Mount Saint Joseph players Darryl Morsell (Class of 2017) and Will Thomas (2004) spoke with PressBox’s Glenn Clark and JJ Outlaw (2002) spoke with PressBox’s Luke Jackson about what makes Clatchey so special.

Morsell played at Maryland from 2017-2021 and at Marquette in 2021-22. Thomas played at George Mason from 2004-2008 (including the Final Four in 2006) and now plays overseas. Outlaw played football at Villanova from 2002-2005 but has coached basketball for more than a decade. He is now an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

PressBox: What makes Clatchey so special? Why has he been so successful at Mount Saint Joseph?

Darryl Morsell: His willingness to win. I feel like you just see it every year. He just has a great mindset and has a great will to win. He’s one of the most competitive coaches I’ve played with, regardless of any level. He hates losing more than he loves winning. … Just being around him all the time, he talks a lot about basketball. He gives his opinion on NBA players and certain things and situations. And just being in practice with him, he’s always challenging you. You can definitely tell after a loss his intensity is higher. You’re around him for four years, you learn a person. As I grew older, I just sensed and understood when his intensity picked up.

JJ Outlaw: First and foremost, I think it’s his passion for the game — his passion not only for the game of basketball, but for teaching the game of basketball and also teaching the game of life, if you will, to countless young men over the years. As a coach, it’s his attention to detail. He doesn’t miss a step. He doesn’t miss a beat. He makes sure that everybody gets coached up so you can be your best self, not only on the basketball floor but in life.

Will Thomas: I would probably say adjusting to his team, to his players, I guess the different styles of basketball, just really having a great knowledge of the game and being able to make adjustments because he’s been coaching for so many decades. It changes from decade to decade, so him being able to do that, I think that’s probably his best attribute.

PressBox: How has Clatchey stood the test of time throughout his career?

Darryl Morsell: He cares about all of his players. Coming from middle school, he made me feel comfortable when he recruited me to play for a guy like him. He’s real big on relationships and having those relationships with all his players. It’s great to play for somebody that’s like that.

JJ Outlaw: He’s always willing to learn. He’s got the extreme growth mindset. Of course, when I was in school there and when I was playing for him, I had no idea what growth mindset was, but as I’ve grown up and I’ve gotten into the world of coaching as well, he has the ultimate growth mindset. He’s always willing to learn. He’s always willing to stay ahead of the curve. Ultimately, the base of it is he’s willing to outwork the competition, if you will. Not saying that he’s looking around at everybody else, but he certainly is one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever been around.

PressBox: How did you create such a unique relationship with Clatchey?

Darryl Morsell: Going to the camps, I would often play with some of the older guys that played with him that I knew … and they would just tell me that everything he was telling me as he was recruiting me was legit. He was that type of person. He was real. And then I got a chance to go out to lunch with him and sit down and talk to him, and I was comfortable. It was a great conversation. He’s just real big on relationships, so he makes sure he has good relationships with his players on the court and off the court. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons he’s had his success.

Will Thomas: I was in the eighth grade. I was playing for St. William of York on Cooks Lane and Edmonson Avenue. … A few of the players on the team he was already recruiting, then he saw me. And then from there he talked to my parents and just sold them on Mount Saint Joe and coming there and playing for him. From there, it just became a really good relationship, helping me over the years with making the decision to go to George Mason and then from there, turning professional and just staying in contact with him throughout the years.

… I talk to him probably once a month [about] how I’m doing during the season. He talks about all the recruits he’s got coming in and how their season is going. It’s more so about basketball. … I think it’s great just because most people don’t have that relationship with maybe a high school coach or a college coach after they’re done playing. Just having him always there in my corner is great because he’s seen me grow from a kid to a man. He knows me.

PressBox: Is there a story involving you and Clatchey that resonates to this day?

Darryl Morsell: I remember him being really hard on me my senior year. He used to kick me out of practice, all that type of stuff. He would just challenge me to get the best out of me. I kind of always just appreciated him for doing that because at that time, everybody wasn’t doing that. People weren’t being honest with me as he was, that type of stuff. I always appreciated everything he did for me.

JJ Outlaw: I was a point guard and at that time I was turning the ball over and taking bad shots, so there are a lot of stories that I could tell. He had that patience. I think he saw something in me, as he did in many players over the years, that confidence that we could get it done on the floor not only for our school but for our teammates as well. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is how much he harped on the work in the classroom. I think he signed every recruiting letter that he sent me with, “Continue to work hard on the court and in the classroom.”

PressBox: How has Clatchey helped you in life outside of sports?

Darryl Morsell: I still talk to Coach Clatchey to this day. We talk to each other probably every week, every other week, but we talk often. He’s just kind of always been a mentor, somebody that kept it real with me. I couldn’t really do nothing but respect that.

JJ Outlaw: He does a really good job of teaching you how to be a man, to keep things in perspective, to keep the important things first. I think the players that played for him, me in particular, but the players that played for him are extremely prepared for life after Mount Saint Joe, whether that be in college, business world, work, for those who were fortunate enough to play at the next level. You’re extremely prepared for life, and I think that’s the most important thing.

Will Thomas: I think all the good coaches, I guess they give you lessons that are more directed to basketball but you can use it in everyday life. He always used to tell us to be early, never be on time. I can’t remember all his crazy stories. I think some of them were made up just to motivate us or give us a life lesson, but that’s the one that I’ll remember the most is just always be early and never be on time. It stayed with me throughout the years.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mount Saint Joseph

Issue 275: June/July 2022

PressBox

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