Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Coach Wootten steps down

November 8, 2002 Columns No Comments

Coaching Legend Calls it a Career

by Phil Kasiecki

On Wednesday, a legend in the basketball coaching world decided to move on, as DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland) head basketball coach Morgan Wootten retired after 46 incredible seasons at the helm.

Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, the 71-year old Wootten won 1,274 games while losing just 192 as the head coach of DeMatha, winning an amazing 86.8% of the games he coached. Five times, the Stags were voted national champions in the United States. He is one of just three prep coaches to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Wootten wasted no time being a winner, as the Stags were 22-10 in his first season as head coach. In his second season, they went 17-11, which would be the only season they won less than 20 games during his storied career. Under Wootten, the Stags lost 10 or more games in just five seasons, and went undefeated in the 1977-78 and 1990-91 seasons. They went 32-3 this past season, winning their final 18 games.

Wootten coached several players who went on to be college stars, and a dozen who went on to play in the NBA. Some notable DeMatha alumni include Harvard graduate James Brown (host of The NFL on FOX), Adrian Dantley (Notre Dame), Charles “Hawkeye” Whitney (North Carolina State), Kenny Carr (North Carolina State), Dereck Whittenburg (North Carolina State), Jerrod Mustaf (Maryland), Duane Simpkins (Maryland), Kenny Blakeney (Duke), and Danny Ferry (Duke). More recently, there is current Seattle Supersonic Joseph Forte (North Carolina), his DeMatha teammate Keith Bogans (a senior at Kentucky), Syracuse freshman Billy Edelin, and Maryland freshman Travis Garrison.

Given Wootten’s success as a coach, it should not surprise anyone that several of his players have gone on to become head coaches themselves. Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Perry Clark (Miami) and Heath Schroyer (Portland State) are all currently head coaches in Division I. Sidney Lowe is the current head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies and was previously the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, for whom he also played in the franchise’s inaugural season.

Asked about what he will do in his retirement, Wootten plans to run his Coach Wootten Basketball Camp every summer, as well as speak at clinics and write. He has written five books on basketball.

High school basketball will live on, but it won’t be the same without Wootten, who has been the chairman of the McDonald’s All-American Game selection committee since 1977. Wootten genuinely loved coaching high school kids; he turned down many offers to become a college coach over his 46 years. Like everyone else, his players can only say great things about him. He has set a sky-high standard not only for the next head coach at DeMatha, but for high school coaches everywhere.

Congratulations and best wishes in your retirement, Coach.

Special thanks to Hoopville Senior Writer Jed Tai for contributing a list of notable alumni who played for Wootten.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 30, 2018

May 30, 2018 by

The NBA Draft and its deadline to withdraw to return to school leads the way in our latest podcast. We also look at one conference’s new scheduling plans, a number of quick hitters, and pay tribute to a fallen conference leader.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.