“Morgan Wootten: The Godfather of Basketball” – the documentary film that tells the life story and life lessons of DeMatha’s Hall of Fame basketball coach who led the Stags to 1,274 victories from 1956 until his retirement in 2002 – will air Sunday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. on Maryland Public Television (MPT).
The film was produced by Bill Hayes and Dereck Whittenburg, a player on DeMatha’s 1979 team ranked number one in the Washington area and North Carolina State’s 1983 national championship team. During the Aug. 26 airing on MPT, Wootten, Whittenburg and Hayes will speak live during the breaks.
The film traces the arc of Wootten’s coaching life, from when in his words he “became a coach by sheer accident” at a Washington orphanage, St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, when the Holy Cross sister in charge was looking for a baseball coach. His baseball teams started with an 0-16 record, but in his two years as a coach there, his football teams won two championships, and his basketball teams were strong, even though they practiced and played on an outdoor court where snow had to be shoveled during the winter.
Then after three years serving as a junior varsity coach at St. John’s College High School in Washington, mentored by its legendary coach Joe Gallagher, Wootten became a coach and teacher at DeMatha, helping the team evolve into a league, regional and a national powerhouse over his nearly five-decade career there.
The movie shows how DeMatha – an all-boys’ Catholic high school sponsored by the Trinitarians – has become known not only for its championship athletic teams, but also for its academics and its award-winning music program.
The coach’s winning personality and approach to life comes through in scenes where he is reunited for lunch at Ledo’s Pizza with several of his former players.
For more information, visit morganwoottenfilm.com.
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