Coach Morgan Wootten remembered

FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2002, file photo, Morgan Wootten, head basketball coach at DeMatha High School, speaks at a news conference to announce his stepping down as coach, in Hyattsville, Md. Wootten, a Hall of Fame coach who built DeMatha High School into a national powerhouse and mentored several future NBA stars during a career that spanned parts of six decades, has died. He was 88. The school announced his death on Twitter, writing, “The Wootten Family is saddened to share the news that their loving husband and father Morgan Wootten passed away” on Tuesday night, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Family, friends, fellow coaches, teachers, former players and students are among those who bid farewell this weekend to legendary high school basketball coach Morgan Wootten, who died this week at 88.

“Morgan Wooten was just a great influence on me and not just my career, but me, as a man,” said Butch McAdams, retired head basketball coach of the Maret School of Washington D.C.

“If you had to do a Mount Rushmore of high school coaches, you start with Morgan … Coach Wooten put high school basketball … nationally, on the map,” said the 31-year veteran of high school coaching.

Wooten’s wake was held Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will extend to a second day on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the school where he coached for 46 years, DeMatha Catholic High School.

Ellen Curro, of Burtonsville, Maryland, was a teacher at DeMatha with Coach Wooten from 1974 to 1979.

Many wait in line to pay respects for the legendary coach. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

“He knew how to motivate young people, colleagues, whoever he was with … I saw what he practiced and preached and lived and there’s not much better,” she said.

At Saturday’s early afternoon viewing, mourners stood in line beneath overcast skies waiting to get inside to pay their respects.

“Coach Wooten’s physical body is dead but his spirit and his legacy will live forever,” said Coach McAdams.

A funeral mass for Coach Wooten will be held at DeMatha Catholic High School on Monday morning at 10 a.m.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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