On Tuesday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the winners of the 2017 Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball.
The prestigious award is named after Morgan Wootten, who was head coach DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) for 46 years and is one of two high school coaches enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The annual award recognizes two outstanding high school coaches, one for boys’ basketball and one for girls’ basketball.
On the boys side, the 2017 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award is William “Speedy” Morris from Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.). In 49 years as a head coach, Speedy Morris has amassed just shy of 1,000 victories. He is also 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 (Philadelphia) and La Salle University women’s history.
In 2015, Morris won his 300th game with St. Joseph’s 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.
On the girls side, the 2017 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award is Marcia Pinder from Dillard High (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). In her 40th year of coaching, Pinder is responsible for turning Dillard 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 has earned dozens of awards and accolades throughout her career including WBCA High School Coach of the Year in 2012 and being inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2016, Pinder coached in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
“When it comes to winning, these coaches certainly know how to get the job done,” said Wootten, a 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 committee 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 on March 29 in Chicago.