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Wed Jan 22, 2020, 11:23 AM

Morgan Wootten, former DeMatha Catholic High School basketball coach, dies at 88

Obituaries

Morgan Wootten, former DeMatha Catholic High School basketball coach, dies at 88

By Mark Asher
Jan. 22, 2020 at 9:20 a.m. EST

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Wootten had the highest career winning percentage of any high school basketball coach in the country. This version has been updated.

Morgan Wootten, a basketball coach for 46 years at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., who brought his school national recognition and produced dozens of college and professional stars, died Jan. 21 at his home in Hyattsville. He was 88.

The school tweeted news of his death but did not immediately provide additional details.



Mr. Wootten never aspired to be a coach until a nun appointed him to be one at a Washington orphanage in 1951. Five years later, DeMatha hired him primarily to teach world history — but also to coach basketball and serve as athletic director.

By the time he retired in 2002, Mr. Wootten had won 1,274 games and lost 192, for a winning percentage of .869. In 2000, he became just the third high school coach to be inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Wootten had the highest career winning percentage of any high school basketball coach in the country. This version has been updated.

Read more Washington Post obituaries

High School Sports

Morgan Wootten’s jaw dropping life and legacy, by the numbers

By Jacob Bogage
Jan. 22, 2020 at 8:57 a.m. EST

Morgan Wootten as a young man was set to become a lawyer after completing his bachelor’s degree. Instead, he became arguably the finest basketball instructor in the history of the game.

“I know of no finer coach at any level — high school, college or pro,” said legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden. “I stand in awe of him.”

Wootten took a job as a volunteer coach at an orphanage in 1951 and moved on to high school soon after.

He coached 46 seasons at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., amassing one of basketball’s most impressive coaching resumes at any level of play. He died Tuesday night at age 88.

Here’s a look at Wootten’s legacy by the numbers.

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Jacob Bogage

Jacob Bogage writes about sports for The Post, where he has worked since 2015. He previously covered the automotive and manufacturing industries for the Business section. Follow https://twitter.com/jacobbogage

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