Pingatore, Gaters to coach all-star game

Gene Pingatore has 867 career wins, second-most in Illinois history. Scott Powers, ESPNChicago.com

Legendary Chicago area coaches Gene Pingatore of St. Joseph's and Dorothy Gaters of Marshall were named Thursday as the West team coaches for the McDonald’s All-American games.

The 10th annual girls game and 34th annual boys game will be held at the United Center on March 30. The girls game will be televised at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU and the boys game will be at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Gaters, who is in her 36th year of coaching, holds Illinois’ girls basketball record for most wins with 949 career victories. She has also won eight state championships.

Pingatore is in his 42nd year and has 867 career wins, which ranks second in state history. He has won one state championship.

Gators said she was honored to be involved in the game, but wasn’t too worried about the actual coaching.

“It’s definitely more pressure trying to win a state title,” Gaters said. “This event won’t be any pressure. It’ll just be a fun time.”

Pingatore agreed.

“The kids have to have a good time,” Pingatore said. “We don’t want to ruin it with coaching.”

Pingatore has coached three McDonald’s All-Americans at St. Joseph: Isiah Thomas (1979), Daryl Thomas (1983) and Deryl Cunningham (1989). Daryl Thomas, a current St. Joseph assistant, will be Pingatore’s assistant at the McDonald’s game.

“I have been blessed with a number of great players over the years, but never at the same time,” Pingatore said. “That’s going to be what’s different. It’s going to be an experience for me to coordinate something and put on a show for the fans at the United Center. I hope I don’t screw it up. That’s the big thing. I won’t know what to do with all that size.”

The boys and girls McDonald’s All-American teams will be announced on Feb. 10.