Legendary Chicago-area high school basketball coach Gene Pingatore, who had a starring role in the iconic documentary “Hoop Dreams,” died Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing multiple sources. He was 83.
As coach at St. Joseph High School, a private Catholic school in Westchester, west of the city, Pingatore became the winningest coach in Illinois high school history, going 1,103-383 in 50 years and, along the way, coaching future Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and Wooden Award winner and NBA player Evan Turner.
Thomas and Turner were among those in the basketball community who paid tribute to Pingatore.
“I always told you, you saved my life,” Thomas said, in part, in a tweet early Thursday.
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