A coach who once led the University of Connecticut men's soccer team to the NCAA national championship in 1981 passed away Wednesday night, according to school officials.
Joseph J. Morrone was just shy of 80 years old.
Morrone was a member of the UConn community for 45 years and started his tenure at the school in 1969. He was head coach of the soccer team for 28 years.
He helped turn the team into a nationally-elite collegiate program, according to UConn.
His overall record 358-178-53.
He led the Huskies to the NCAA men's soccer national semifinals in three consecutive seasons. It began with the 1981 championship and followed by berths in the NCAA national semifinals in both 1982 and 1983. His teams competed in the NCAA tournament 16 times.
Not to be outdone, Morrone's teams earned Big East Conference tournament championships in 1983, 1984 and 1989.
Twenty five of his players earned All-America status and 30 went on to play professionally, the university said.
UConn said his success on the field was matched by his student athletes' success in the classroom. The school said 96 percent of his athletes went on to earn degrees.
After retiring in 1996, Morrone stayed at the university as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology. He formally retired from that in the summer of 2014.
UConn said Morrone was inducted into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 2002 and was an inaugural inductee in the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999.
Morrone is pre-deceased by his wife, Elizabeth Ann Morrone who passed away in 2007. He's survived by a daughter and two sons, all of whom have families of their own.
Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.
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