Honoring Legends of Yesterday and Today
By Elio Velez
In a press conference held on October 4th, The Frank McGuire Foundation announced that seven high school coaches have been awarded for their outstanding achievement in coaching and in teaching. There will be a dinner at the New York Athletic Club on November 1, 2001 to present awards to the winners. The McGuire Foundation is in its third year in honoring coaches who they believe " exemplify integrity, achievement and a persistent, continual quest for excellence from themselves and their student athletes."
The winning coaches are: Ed Bowes, track and field coach at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn; Bob Farrell who is basketball coach at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange New Jersey; Moe Finkelstein, football coach emeritus at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn; Mike Turo, baseball coach at James Monroe Campus Schools in the Bronx; Warren Wolf, football coach at Brick Township High School in Brick Township, New Jersey; Morgan Wootten, basketball coach at Dematha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, MD; and Johanna Wright, basketball coach at Columbia High school, Maplewood, NJ.
At the press conference, there was a mixture of former winners, new winners, family and friends, which created a family atmosphere. Mike Quick, who is a high school reporter for MSG Network made a passionate speech on how high school coaches are a big part in forming and shaping people’s lives. Quick stated it was not just about wins and losses with the coaches. They are there to help people lead productive lives. Bob Farrell who was one of the coaches honored stated that he when asked if he would go to the college ranks, he emphatically stated, " This is where I want to be".
Starting three years ago, The Frank McGuire foundation was created to honor high school coaches who helped shape people in to becoming productive members of society. The foundation is named after the late Frank McGuire, who used sports as a tool not only to teach the x and o’s of basketball but also taught qualities as fairness, dignity, discipline and fun that can be used in life.
Frank McGuire was a legendary coach of high school and college basketball who grew up in the Greenwich Village in Manhattan. One of 13 children, Frank enjoyed playing basketball at a young age, which led him to play at St. John’s University. After World War 2, Dick coached at Xavier High School in Manhattan. In 1947, he took over as coach of St. John’s. Once at St. John’s, he was quickly successful as he won 103 games and guided them to the NCAA finals in 1952.
When he moved to North Carolina University, his teaching and organizational skills became famous to sports fans everywhere. In the 1957 NCAA championship against Kansas and with future hall of fame great Wilt Chamberlain, his task to stop the big center from dominating the game. McGuire’s defensive schemes held Chamberlain to 23 points and the Tar Heels beat Kansas 57-54 in triple overtime to win the championship and finish 32-0. McGuire has been honored with awards such as coach of the year in three schools: St. John’s University, University of North Carolina and University of South Carolina. He coached for 41 years with 550 college wins and made the Nike, Madison Square Garden, South Carolina, St. John’s and Basketball Hall of Fame.
As the press conference ended, those who did not know about these high school coaches were indeed taught a lesson. Old friends were acquainted and new friends were introduced. A camaraderie was established and the public can understand and fully appreciate the hard work and commitment that these men and women do.