Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Hall of Fame high school basketball coach Morgan Wootten has died. He was 88.
Wootten coached for 46 years at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. The school announced his death Wednesday morning on Twitter. Wootten -- widely considered one of the best basketball coaches at any level -- was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. He was the first to coach exclusively in high school to be inducted.
He died at 9:50 p.m. EST Tuesday while surrounded by his family in prayer. Wootten's family announced Monday he was receiving hospice care at home.
"The Wootten family would like to extend their deepest gratitude for all the prayers and overwhelming support they have received during this time. Arrangements will be forthcoming," the Wootten family said.
Wootten won five national championships and helped many players earn college scholarships en route to NBA careers while coaching at DeMatha from 1956 to 2002.
He was the first basketball coach at any level to win 1,200 games. Wootten also had a 79-40-2 record during his tenure as DeMatha's football coach. His football team went undefeated in 1964.
"He will forever be 'Coach' to all of us," current DeMatha basketball coach Mike Jones tweeted. "Saddened and heartbroken. But just as coach said, he is now part of God's Hall of Fame. We love you coach and will always remember the lessons taught and the gentleman that you were. RIP to the true [greatest of all time]. You have meant so much to so many."
Wooten won nearly 87 percent of his basketball games at DeMatha, posting an overall record of 1,274-192 in over four decades at the school. One of his most notable wins came in 1965, when DeMatha held NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to 16 points, pulling off a win over Power Memorial Academy of New York.
"God allowed me to be a teacher and a coach, which I think is the greatest honor I've ever had, to work with our young people," Woottten said during his Hall of Fame speech in 2000.
Wootten turned down multiple offers for college basketball coaching jobs to remain at DeMatha. A film titled Morgan Wootten: The Godfather of Basketball was released in 2017, profiling the coach's decorated career.
Wootten received a liver transplant in 1996. He had a kidney transplant in 2006.