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Veteran Arkansas coach named top high school girls basketball coach in America

John Hutchcraft (KATV photo)

Guy-Perkins High School's John Hutchcraft has been named the 2018 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award, honoring the top high school girls basketball coach in the nation.

For the past 41 years, Hutchcraft has served as the head basketball coach at Guy-Perkins High School. For 25 of those years, he coached all four basketball teams - junior and senior boys and girls. During his tenure, Hutchcraft has complied an impressive record of 2007-596 (.771), including 10 state titles - five girls’ and five boys’. His teams also finished as state runner-up nine times. In 2015, Hutchcraft was named the head coach of the girls’ East team in the McDonald’s All American Game. This April, he will be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Amidst his many championships and accolades, the highlight of his career remains coaching his three children - Charlotte, Jason, and Ashley - with all three receiving scholarships to play basketball in college.

The 2018 winner of the Morgan Wootten Award for boys basketball is Gene Pingatore from St. Joseph’s High School (Westchester, Illinois).

“Gene Pingatore and John Hutchcraft have undoubtedly had a positive impact on those they have coached, all while collecting wins and hardware along the way,” said Morgan Wootten, the award’s namesake and five-time High School National Champion. “I applaud them for their outstanding decades-long effort, their dedication to the game, and the impact they’ve had on countless student-athletes.”

The Morgan Wootten Award winners were selected by a nationally based committee comprised of Hall of Famers, national high school media members, tournament directors and others who have significantly impacted the game. The 2018 Morgan Wootten Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball will be presented at the Basketball Hall of Fame Luncheon on March 28 at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.

Previous winners of the girls’ basketball award include Marcia Pinder (Dillard High School, Fort Lauderdale, FL),Dr. Anthony Pappas (Waterloo West High School, IA), Joe Lombard (Canyon High School, TX), Thednall Hill (Hardy Highland, AR), Sandra Meadows (Duncanville High School, TX), Leta Andrews (Granbury High School, TX), Jim Smiddy (Bradley Central, TN), Dorothy Gaters (Chicago Marshall, IL), Rick Insell (Shelbyville, TN) and Gene Klinge (West Central of Maynard, IA).

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