Wootten took a job as a volunteer coach at an orphanage in 1951 and moved to high school shortly after.
He trained 46 seasons at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, accumulating one of the most impressive basketball training resumes at any level of play. He died Tuesday night at 88.
Here is a look at Wootten’s legacy by numbers.
The number of games Wootten won in his first year as head coach.
Wootten began his coaching career in 1951 at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in the District. He went to the orphanage to offer a referral for a friend who requested the job of coach, but when the friend left the race, Wootten took the position himself. He trained baseball that spring. The team lost all 16 games. But when he took over the soccer team in the fall, the San Jose boys were undefeated. It drove him to a career as a coach.
Joe Gallagher, the basketball coach at St. John’s College High in the District, noted Wootten’s success and hired him to train the school’s junior college football and basketball teams. DeMatha tried to hire him in 1955, but Wootten refused. I still had another year of college to finish.
He accepted the position at Hyattsville, just a stone’s throw from the University of Maryland at College Park, in 1956. He trained football and basketball until 1968, when he left the grid to concentrate on hardwood.
Wootten’s total wins in DeMatha. He is the second of all time among high school basketball coaches, but kept the record when he retired in 2002. He was the first coach, high school, college or professional, to accumulate 1,200 career victories. Among coaches with 1,000 career wins, their .869 win percentage is the third of all time.
Wootten was one of the great innovators of basketball. His teams were pioneers in the press of the entire field, and the man-to-man defensive techniques he called taught the invention of the offensive lack of “cargo.”
“We would go out and let someone run over us and they would call a foul and we would go and shoot on the other side,” he told USA Today in 2013. “The rules committee came from Massachusetts and started looking at us.” to play. That small innovation of stepping in front of a player, planting his feet and making contact in the chest eventually became the offensive foul. We made them change the rule five times before calling it offensive foul. At first, it was just a foul and we shot it. Later they said, that is delaying the game, so we will wait five fouls before we go down and then they went to the line for one and finally, they said we would call it an offensive foul, but we will not fire. “
Finally, due to Wootten’s teams, the rules committees created the “additional penalty”, in which a team receives free throws after an opponent commits too many personal fouls, and “one-to-one” free throws, in which A shooter receives a second free throw if he or she converts the first.
Wootten created the quick break. Before Wootten, when the defenders stole the ball, they simply stayed there.
“When someone used to ask me,” What was our main man-to-man offense? “I would say, quick jump,” he said in a 2008 training video. “Primary Zone Offense? Quick rest Primary pressure offense? Quick rest. “
National titles won by Wootten DeMatha teams.
Several schools claim national championships in 1962, 1965, 1968 and 1978 when there was not a single national news source to crown the best team in the country. The 1984 DeMatha title is indisputable.
When Wootten arrived in DeMatha, the school withdrew from what was then the Catholic Catholic Athletic League in Washington because their teams could not compete with rivals St. John’s and Gonzaga on the field or in the classroom. DeMatha was reputed to be the noisiest Catholic prep school in the area.
He helped integrate the school by recruiting athletes for the basketball program. Johnny Austin, who was transferred to DeMatha by Archbishop Carroll at the beginning of the 1961-62 season, was the first black player on the basketball team.
NBA players who played for Wootten’s DeMatha teams.
The first was Austin, who played one season each in the NBA and ABA. The last was Keith Bogans, who graduated in the class of 1999. The best, surely, was Adrian Dantley, the NBA rookie of the year in 1977, six-time NBA champion, twice champion, twice gold medalist Olympic. (1976) and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Wootten presented him at his induction ceremony in 2008.
“My whole career in basketball was based on my coach, Morgan Wootten,” Dantely said in his speech. “He taught me the basics of the game, respect for the game and the correct way to play it. Morgan has been a teacher, mentor and friend. ”
Consecutive years in which each senior student of the Wootten teams obtained a university scholarship.
Of all Wootten’s achievements, he told his friends that this was one of the proudest. The streak began in 1960, according to DeMatha’s records, and lasted until 1991. It was fueled by DeMatha’s victory over Power Memorial and the subsequent media coverage that followed. Newsweek and Time magazine reporters appeared in the game.
For 16 consecutive years, according to the documentary “Godfather of Basketball”, a DeMatha player, trained by Wootten, was on the Harvard basketball list. Five times DeMatha graduates served as captains.
Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe, DeMatha guards, remain the only pair of teammates to win a national high school championship and the NCAA tournament title on the same teams.