State Stories

11

Legendary St. Joseph Boys Basketball Coach Gene Pingatore Wins 1,000th Career Game

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St. Joseph (Westchester) head boys’ basketball coach Gene Pingatore added another milestone to his legendary career on February 11, 2017, when he won his 1000th career IHSA game with a 81-71 victory over St. Rita in the first round of the Chicago Catholic League Tournament.

Pingatore was already the all-time leader in boys basketball victories in IHSA history and second overall in state basketball history only to current Marshall High School girls’ basketball coach Dorothy Gaters, who tallied her 1,000th career win in November of 2014.

Pingatore has captured two state titles in his career, winning the Class AA crown in 1999 and Class 3A in 2015. Coach Ping’s 1978 squad, led by future NCAA and NBA champion Isiah Thomas, placed second after falling to undefeated Lockport in the state championship. The Chargers have reached the IHSA state finals 12 times under Pingatore, winning five total trophies.

Pingatore became the 15th coach in high school boys' basketball history to win 1,000 games according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), as well as the seventh to win 1,000 games coaching at one high school.

Above, Pingatore can be seen coaching in the 2015 state finals and below talking to Thomas (foreground) and a teammate in the 1978 finals.

Click here for more on Coach Pingatore’s legacy from the Chicago Tribune

Click here for a biography on Coach Pingatore’s life courtesy of St. Joseph High School