Schuck's Clipboard

Pingatore, Illinois' winningest boys basketball coach, passes away at 83

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 28, 2019 1:50 am

It seems somewhat fitting for the winningest boys basketball coach in Illinois High School Association to have a winning record against one of the nation's winningest programs.

Gene Pingatore is alone in that regard.

Illinois' other great coaches weren't as fortunate at taking down Quincy High School.

Among the five winningest big school coaches in IHSA history, only Pingatore, the legendary Westchester St. Joseph coach, owns a winning record against Quincy High School. Pingatore went 2-0 against the Blue Devils, having led the Chargers to a 72-65 victory in the third-place game of the 1987 Class AA state tournament and a 98-68 victory in 2009 at the Batavia Night of Hoops.

The man who coached Isaiah Thomas in high school and led St. Joseph to two state championships passed away Wednesday night. Pingatore was 83. He coached the Chargers last weekend in the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout and was planning to coach his 51st season this winter.

Pingatore amassed a 1,035-383 career record in 50 seasons at St. Joseph with his teams winning 20 or more games 31 times.

"He epitomized education-based athletics, using basketball as an extension of the classroom," IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a press release. "It is hard to imagine high school basketball in Illinois without him on a sideline, and there is no doubt that he is a legend who will never be forgotten."

Pingatore is joined by Lincoln's Neil Alexander, Peoria Manual's Dick Van Scyoc, Centralia's Arthur Trout and Aurora West's Gordie Kerkman among the state's winningest coaches. All of those coaches have a losing record against Quincy.

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Pingatore's death was the second hit the Chicagoland basketball community suffered this week.

Tony Barone Sr., a Chicago native and former NCAA Division I and NBA coach, passed away Tuesday following a battle with cancer. He was 72.

Barone began his coaching career as a high school assistant at the now defunct St. George High School and Gordon Tech before becoming the head coach at Chicago Mount Carmel in 1971. He went 60-15 in three seasons at Mount Carmel and 43-55 in four seasons at Chicago St. Rita, before joining Dick Versace's staff at Bradley.

Barone earned his first college head coaching job at Creighton in 1985 and later spent seven seasons at Texas A&M. He finished his coaching career in the NBA as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Former Moberly Area Community College men's basketball Kyle Gerdeman is the new head coach at Lindenwood University and will lead the Lions in their debut season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Gerdeman was named the Lions' coach Wednesday after spending the previous seven seasons as an assistant at Central Michigan. The Wright City, Mo., native also served as an assistant at Southeast Missouri State following a three-year stint at Moberly.

The Lions went 16-16 last winter in Lance Randall's fourth season as head coach. He went 69-55 at Lindenwood before resigning in early June to return to St. Leo University, where he coached from 2011-15.