Acclaimed prep basketball coach Gene Pingatore dies at 83

Sports

West head coach Gene Pingatore, from St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Ill., talks to his team during the first half of the McDonald’s All-American High School boys’ basketball game March 30, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey File)

WESTCHESTER, Ill. (AP) — Gene Pingatore, the winningest boys’ basketball coach in Illinois history who gained national attention when he appeared in the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams,” has died. He was 83.

Ronald Hoover, principal at St. Joseph High School in Westchester, says Pingatore died Wednesday at home.

At the time of his death, he was preparing for his 51st season coaching at the suburban Chicago school.

Pingatore’s teams won two state championships, advanced to the state finals six times and won 13 sectional titles. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, in 2017 he became the 15th boys’ basketball coach in the country to reach 1,000 wins.

Pingatore coached three McDonald’s All-Americans: Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, Daryl Thomas and Deryl Cunningham.

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