Hall of Fame HS basketball coach Morgan Wootten dies at 88

Must Read

Report: Raiders QB Derek Carr being ‘heavily shopped’ at NFL Combine

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports The Las Vegas...

Hair of the Bear: UCLA Women’s Athletics Are Heating Up

While the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team has, rightly or wrongly, taken up a lot of oxygen on this...

Cam Newton posts cryptic message as divorce with Panthers looms

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports The Carolina Panthers are going to trade former NFL MVP Cam Newton at some point this...
Distinct Athletehttp://Distinctathlete.com
DistinctAthlete.com is an entertaining sports site. The site specializes in viral sports content. Content includes controversial and original opinions, news stories, off-beat stories, humorous videos, entertaining photos, exclusive interviews, and witty banter between the writers and commenters. Distinct Athlete was launched in May of 2012 and has been featured and/or cited on several prominent sports sites.

HYATTSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Morgan Wootten, a Hall of Fame basketball coach who built DeMatha High School into a national powerhouse and mentored several future NBA stars during a career that spanned parts of six decades, has died. He was 88.

The school announced his death on Twitter, writing, “The Wootten Family is saddened to share the news that their loving husband and father Morgan Wootten passed away” on Tuesday night surrounded by his family.

Wootten coached DeMatha, a private Catholic school in Hyattsville, from 1956 to 2002. He went 1,274-192 and retired as the winningest high school coach in history, although he now ranks second.

Wootten never had a losing season and won at least 30 games on 10 different occasions.

“If you’re in basketball and you don’t now Morgan Wootten, there’s something wrong with you,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams once said.

DeMatha had already earned recognition as one of the top basketball programs in America before Wootten led the Stags into a game in 1965 against Power Memorial, which was led by future NBA star Lew Alcindor and was riding a 71-game winning streak, including a victory over DeMatha one year earlier.

Wootten simulated Alcindor’s height in practice by having players shoot over defenders holding raised tennis rackets.

Before a sellout crowd at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland, DeMatha limited Alcindor to 16 points and prevailed 46-43.

“It put high school basketball on a national level,” Wootten said of the much-publicized matchup.

Wootten, who was born in Durham, North Carolina, on April 21, 1931, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. He was introduced at the ceremony by Red Auerbach, the Hall of Fame coach of the Boston Celtics who died in 2006.

“Morgan Wootten had it all,” Auerbach said. “He loved the game, he loved the kids, he was a teacher. He’s always in command, without being loud or brash.”

Wootten would raise his voice when necessary, but his approach relied more on positive reinforcement.

“True basketball coaches are teachers,” he said. “If you humiliate or curse them, that won’t do it. Coaches like that are not coaches.”

Wootten launched the careers of a number of players who went to the NBA, including Adrian Dantley, Danny Ferry, Sidney Lowe and Kenny Carr.

Dereck Whittenburg, who played under Wootten at DeMatha before starring for North Carolina State and becoming a college coach, spent years making a documentary about Wootten called “The Godfather of Basketball.”

“Outstanding leader, very good communicator,” Whittenburg said of Wootten. “Talked about the fundamentals of basketball and the fundamentals of life — being on time, being a good person, surrounding yourself with good people.”

Before Wootten arrived at DeMatha, the school had dropped out of the Washington Catholic League because it could not compete against bigger, better teams with far more talented athletes.

“We can change that,” said Wootten, who abandoned his plan to be a lawyer in favor of this low-paying but satisfying job.

“If I can pay the bills, I’m happy,” said Wootten, who never regretted his decision.

“I fell in love with coaching. I loved interacting with young people, having the opportunity to make a tremendous impression on them,” he said.

DeMatha went 22-10 in his first season, and he helped integrate the school three years later. Two years after that, the Stags were the top-ranked team in the Washington, D.C., area.

Not surprisingly, Wootten received head coaching offers from several colleges. He spurned North Carolina State and others. His goal was to coach Maryland, his alma mater, and Wootten was seemingly in the mix in 1986 after Lefty Driesell was fired following the death of Len Bias.

The phone never rang. Bob Wade, then coach at Dunbar High in Baltimore, got the job. Though terribly disappointed, Wootten said, “I believe everything happens for a reason.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Offense struggles again as Arizona falls to USC

Among the many things Sean Miller said had to happen for the Arizona Wildcats to be successful on the Los Angeles road trip was...

Martí da con la tecla: halla su esqueleto de confianza

Uno de los mejores momentos del Girona esta temporada está coincidiendo con que Pep Lluís Martí ha dado continuidad, siempre que las lesiones y...

Ruggs runs fast but can’t top Ross’s record he had targeted

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The stars came out at night inside Lucas Oil Stadium, especially Henry Ruggs III who came up short in his quest...

Senior Night: WSU Cougars Game Preview & How to Watch

The Essentials Date: Friday, 2/28/20 Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT TV: FS1 Radio: KOMO 1000 Streaming: Foxsportsgo.com Location: Seattle, Washington Betting line: Washington -10 Washington State 2019-20 Statistics: Record: 14-14 (5-10) Points For per...

More Articles Like This