Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award
About the Award:
- Named after Morgan Wootten, only coach who exclusively coached at the high school level enshrined into the Hall of Fame
- Purpose is to honor those who have had tremendous influence on the game and to provide a national stage to recognize them
- (2) awards to be presented: (1) for boys basketball and (1) for girls basketball
- Male or Female, Active or Retired
- College Graduate
- Coach of (4) year high school that adheres to national, state or league standards
- Minimum of (25) years of head coaching experience
- Nominations due by November 1st
- Winners selected by January 10th
- Winners announced on or around February 1
- Awards Presented at McDonalds All-American Game, Late March
Current Selection Committee:
2014 AWARD WINNERS
Gary McKnight - Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA)
McKnight is the winningest coach on a percentage basis in the history of high school boys’ basketball, having won 92% of his games with an overall active record of 983-85 since his start as Mater Dei’s head coach in 1983. He has led Mater Dei to a record 10 California State Championships, 14 Southern California Regional Championships, 21 CIF Championships and 30 league championships in 31 years. Now in his 32nd year as the Monarchs’ head coach, McKnight has won more games than any other coach in the history of California high school basketball.
Thednall Hill - Hardy Highland High School (Hardy, AR)
Hill is the fifth most winningest high school girls basketball coach of all time. During his time as head coach for the Rebels from 1952-1986 he compiled a record of 1,063-122. Hill has won more games than any other coach in the history of Arkansas girl’s high school basketball.
2013 AWARD WINNERS
Coach Montelli was the only basketball coach St. Joseph High School has ever had until his retirement at the end of last season. His last game as head coach would end with his 11th state championship and his 878th victory – the most by any New England high school basketball coach in history. Even after retirement, he remains a fixture at the school with an office next to the 2nd basketball coach in school history. The court at St. Joseph High School is named in his honor and it is where basketball will remain Coach Montelli’s profession, hobby and passion.
For 26 years, Coach Meadows has led Duncanville to nearly 750 victories and four state championships that included a 134-game winning streak. Her record on the court would lead her to receive numerous recognitions including induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In total, she would win just over 900 games but her life was cut short at age 59 due to cancer. Duncanville High School has dedicated its gymnasium in honor of the former women’s coach who influenced so many lives while leaving a forever impact on Texas high school girl’s basketball.
2012 AWARD WINNERS
Coach Pepple is the longest-tenured basketball coach in the state of Washington. He has coached at Mercer Island since 1968 and immediately impacted the program. Pepple has led his teams to 21 KingCo championships, four state championships, and was runner-up four times. He has the most wins of any active head coach (872-262), and has appeared in 26 state championships. Pepple has been named Washington State Coach of the Year seven times and named Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1997.
Coach Smith has coached the Oregon City High School girl's basketball team for 27 seasons, compiling a 626-93 win-loss record (.870), the best record by far among retired and current girls coaches in the state. His teams won 24 league championships; an unprecedented 10 state titles; and they were named "USA Today National Champions" in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Smith has received many honors, including National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, the Oregon Banquet of Champions Slats Gill Coach of the Year and Citizen of the Year in 2007.
2011 AWARD WINNERS
Coach Hurley has coached basketball at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey since 1972 building a local program into a national powerhouse in a community where hard times are a constant reminder of a world that is both uncertain and unsympathetic. Hurley has been more than a coach to his players; he has been a teacher, a father figure, advisor, mentor, and friend. The victories and championships are there to count, but the true measure of the man is the scores of young lives he has permanently touched. Coach Hurley was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010 and on February 2, 2011, earned his 1,000 career victory at St. Anthony.
Coach Klinge has been on the sidelines coaching for nearly 50 years including the transition from six-person basketball to five-person basketball in the state of Iowa. His career began in 1962, and for the next 41 years he coached at West Central of Maynard where he would win 817 games before leaving the school in 2003. His next stop and where he still currently coaches is Waukon High School. In his first year at Waukon, he led the team to a 28-0 record and the state championship. Entering this season, Coach Klinge has won 956 total games and is currently the all-time wins leader in the girls basketball crazy state of Iowa.
2010 AWARD WINNERS
Coach Hughes coached I.M. Terrell and Fort Worth Dunbar High School in Texas for 47 years prior to his retirement in 2005. In his tenure, Coach Hughes collected five state championships and posted 1,333 victories which is the most wins in high school basketball history. He passed Morgan Wootten’s record for victories in 2003. For his efforts, Coach Hughes has been enshrined into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame.
Coach Insell, who is currently coaching Middle Tennessee State University, coached Shelbyville Central High School for 28 years. He guided Shelbyville Central High School to 10 TSSAA Class AAA state championships, two USA Today National Championships and compiled a 775-148 record over 28 years. One of the pioneers of women’s basketball in the state of Tennessee, he is one of four coaches enshrined into the National High School Hall of Fame.
2009 AWARD WINNERS
Ralph Tasker - Hobbs High School - Hobbs, New Mexico
Coach Ralph Tasker coached for 52 seasons at Sulpher Springs (OH), Lovington (NM) and most notably at Hobbs (NM) where he compiled 1,122 victories against 291 defeats. His teams qualified for postseason play 48 times in his 53 year coaching career while winning 12 state championships and recorded two undefeated seasons. Coach Tasker was a two-time National High School Coach of the Year, was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, was named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor and was named the Walt Disney Coach/Teacher of the Year in 1991. His contributions to Hobbs High School touched thousands of lives over his career and today the basketball arena is known as "Ralph Tasker Arena." Coach Tasker retired from coaching in 1998 and passed of cancer on July 18, 1999.
Dorothy Gaters - Marshall High School - Chicago, IL
Dorothy Gaters has been the head coach at Marshall High School in Chicago since 1976, assembling an overall coaching record of 900 - 126. Her continued success at Marshall High School has helped lead the Commandoes to eight state titles, two runner-up finishes and made 23 state tournament appearances. In addition, she has served as an assistant coach at the United States Olympic Festival and coached the 1992 WBCA Girls' High School All-America Game. She has been named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association "Coach of the Year" eight times, received the National Student-Athlete Day Giant Steps Award in 1998 and has been enshrined in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
2008 AWARD WINNERS
Joseph Gallagher - St. John's College High School - Washington D.C.
Coach Gallagher began his coaching career in the Maui Marine Corps in 1945 before taking over at St. John's College High School in Washington, DC in 1947. He would lead St. John's from 1947 - 1991 playing against the best national and international competition, winning 870 games in 46 seasons at the helm. Coach Gallagher was named Washington Metropolitan Area Coach of the Year and Washington Catholic League Coach of the Year seven times each in his tenure. His teams won 12 Washington Catholic League Championships and one City Title in addition to being named to coach the McDonald's All-American Game's East Team and the Capitol City Classic three times. Additionally, he started the first day basketball camp in 1961and is a member of three Hall of Fames (Washington, DC, St. John's College and George Washington University). Coach Gallagher was responsible for the hiring of Morgan Wootten and provided him with his first coaching opportunity before becoming legendary at DeMatha Catholic High School.
Jim Smiddy - Bradley Central High School - Cleveland, Tennessee
Jim Smiddy led Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tennessee for 44 seasons as head coach winning 1,217 games against 206 defeats. His teams won five state championships, two National Championships and had two back-to-back undefeated seasons totaling 90 consecutive wins. Additionally, coach Smiddy guided his teams to 24 District Championships, 17 Regional and 14 sub-state titles. He is the all-time winningest coach in girl's high school basketball history and is an inductee of the National High School Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jack Curran - Archbishop Molloy High School (NY)
This New York City High School Basketball Coaching Legend who replaced Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca at Archbishop Molloy High School is the inaugural winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for Boys High School Basketball. He has coached for nearly 50 years compiling almost 900 victories for this New York basketball power. His current list of alumni includes Kenny Anderson, Kenny Smith and more than 450 players that received college scholarships. He has guided teams to 21 Queens Divisional Championships, 14 Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan Championships as well as being named 22 times as Coach of the Year and has been enshrined into 9 Halls of Fame.
Leta Andrews - Granbury High School (TX)
The inaugural winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for Girls High School basketball hails from Granbury, Texas where she has coached more than 40 years of girls basketball. She has compiled more than 1,200 victories and has won numerous league, district, and regional tournaments in addition to the 1990 Texas State Championship. Her 1,200 victories is good for the most victories among female girls high school basketball coaches. She has been named by the Walt Disney Company as the 1993 Oustanding American Coach/Teacher of the Year, Coach of the Year in Texas 3 times and enshrinee of the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame.