Basketball HOF announces 2018 Morgan Wootten Award recipients

February 22, 2018 / Winning Hoops
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the winners of the 2018 Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball. This prestigious award is named after Morgan Wootten, who served as the Head Coach of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsvile, Maryland for 46 years and is one of three high school coaches enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The annual award recognizes two outstanding high school coaches, one for boys’ basketball and one for girls’ basketball.

“Morgan Wootten is a shining example of an outstanding high school coach and the tremendous impact one can have on his or her community,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to annually recognize high school coaches that are dedicated to preparing future generations of players for life on and off the court.”

The 2018 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for boys’ basketball is Gene Pingatore from St. Joseph’s High School (Westchester, Illinois). Pingatore has spent 48 years on the sidelines with St. Joseph’s High School and on February 11 earned his 1,000th career win, bringing his overall coaching record to 1,000-353 (.739). Pingatore is the 15th boys coach in the United States to have surpassed 1,000 wins. He has coached St. Joseph’s to 13 sectional titles, six top-four state finishes, two state championships (1999, 2015) and has coached three McDonald’s All-Americans – Deryl Cunningham, Daryl Thomas, and Isiah Thomas. Pingatore is also recognized nationally for his role in the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams.”

The 2018 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for girls’ basketball is John Hutchcraftfrom Guy-Perkins High School (Guy, Arkansas). For the past 41 years,Hutchcraft has served as the head basketball coach at Guy-Perkins High School. For 25 of those years, he coached all four basketball teams – junior and senior boys and girls. During his tenure, Hutchcraft has complied an impressive record of 2007-596 (.771), including 10 state titles – five girls’ and five boys’. His teams also finished as state runner-up nine times. In 2015, Hutchcraft was named the head coach of the girls’ East team in the McDonald’s All American Game. This April, he will be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Amidst his many championships and accolades, the highlight of his career remains coaching his three children — Charlotte, Jason, and Ashley — with all three receiving scholarships to play basketball in college.

“Gene Pingatore and John Hutchcraft have undoubtedly had a positive impact on those they have coached, all while collecting wins and hardware along the way,” said Morgan Wootten, the award’s namesake and five-time High School National Champion. “I applaud them for their outstanding decades-long effort, their dedication to the game, and the impact they’ve had on countless student-athletes.”

The Morgan Wootten Award winners were selected by a nationally based committee comprised of Hall of Famers, national high school media members, tournament directors and others who have significantly impacted the game. The 2018 Morgan Wootten Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball will be presented at the Basketball Hall of Fame Luncheon on March 28 at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.

Previous boys’ basketball award winners include William “Speedy” Morris (St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, PA), Bob Dwyer (Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC), Harvey Reid (Ralph L. Fike High School, NC), Gary McKnight (Mater Dei, CA), Vito Montelli (St. Joseph High School, CT), Jack Curran (Archbishop Molloy, NY), Joe Gallagher (St. John’s College, DC), Ralph Tasker (Hobbs High School, NM), Robert Hughes (Fort Worth Dunbar, TX) and Bob Hurley, Sr. (St. Anthony’s, NJ).

Previous winners of the girls’ basketball award include Marcia Pinder (Dillard High School, Fort Lauderdale, FL),Dr. Anthony Pappas (Waterloo West High School, IA), Joe Lombard (Canyon High School, TX), Thednall Hill (Hardy Highland, AR), Sandra Meadows (Duncanville High School, TX), Leta Andrews (Granbury High School, TX), Jim Smiddy (Bradley Central, TN), Dorothy Gaters (Chicago Marshall, IL), Rick Insell (Shelbyville, TN) and Gene Klinge (West Central of Maynard, IA).

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.