Springfield, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the winners of the 2014 Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball. This prestigious award is named after Morgan Wootten, who is one of two high school coaches enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The annual award recognizes two high school coaches, one for boys’ basketball and one for girls’ basketball.
The 2014 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for boy’s basketball is Gary McKnight from 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 record of 980-85 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.
The 2014 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for girl’s basketball is Thednall Hill from Hardy Highland High School (Hardy, AR). Hill is the fifth most winningest high school girl’s 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.
“Coach McKnight and Coach Hill are both excellent representatives of some of the top coaches in high school basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “They have shown what it means to be a true leader, teacher and mentor to young players and they set an example for all coaches.”
“It is my honor to be presenting this award to two highly esteemed coaches who really deserve this recognition,” said Hall of Fame Class of 2000 member Morgan Wootten.
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. Morgan Wootten will present the awards at the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game ® events April 2 in Chicago, Illinois.
Previous boys’ basketball award winners have included 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 have included 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).