SPRINGFIELD, MASS. >> A local man now has a lifetime achievement award to add to his long list of accomplishments.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced the winners of the 2017 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, Md., for 46 years and is one of two 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.
The 2017 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for boys basketball is St. Joseph’s Prep coach William “Speedy” Morris, a lifelong Roxborough resident. In 49 years as a head coach, Morris has amassed just shy of 1,000 victories. He is the winningest coach in La Salle University and St. Joseph’s Prep history and has the best winning percentage of any coach in Roman Catholic High School and La Salle University women’s history. In 2015, Morris won his 300th game with the Prep, making him the only high school coach in Pennsylvania to win 300 games at two schools (Roman Catholic 1967-2001, 347 victories). Morris has been inducted into 11 halls of fame, including the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame, the La Salle University Hall of Fame, the Big Five Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
The 2017 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for girls’ basketball is Marcia Pinder from Dillard High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). In her 39th year of coaching, Pinder has cemented herself as a South Florida girls basketball fixture. She is responsible for turning Dillard High School into one of the nation’s best programs and holds the record for most wins in Florida high school basketball history. Pinder has guided her team to over 900 wins and nine state championships. She was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named the Florida Dairy Farmers’ Coach of the Year in 2015. In 2016, Pinder was selected to coach the McDonald’s All-American Game.
“When it comes to winning, these coaches certainly know how to get the job done,” said Morgan Wootten, the award’s namesake and five-time high school national champion. “The Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale communities are fortunate to have such dedicated leaders and mentors available to their student athletes.”
“The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame applauds these tremendous coaches for their efforts and dedication to the game and the lives of young athletes,” said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Speedy Morris and Marcia Pinder have undoubtedly had a positive impact on those they have coached, all while collecting wins and hardware along the way.”
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. Wootten will present the awards at the Basketball Hall of Fame Luncheon March 29 in Chicago, Ill.