Year Inducted: 1987
Schools / Organizations: (Westchester) St. Joseph High School
Biography: Gene Pingatore was preparing for his 51st varsity season at (Westchester) St. Joseph High School. Just days after coaching his players in a summer league game, “Coach Ping” passed away on June 26, 2019. As a true legend, Gene coached the first 10 years at St. Joseph as frosh-soph coach and the last 50 as varsity coach. Pingatore’s career record is 1035-383. This record makes him the winningest boys’ basketball coach in Illinois history. Overall, his win total is second only to Dorothy Gaters of (Chicago) Marshall High School. Gene’s teams won a total of 32 IHSA Regional Championships, 13 IHSA Sectional Titles, and 6 IHSA Super-sectionals. In the IHSA state finals, the Chargers finished 4th in 1984 and 2016; 3rd in 1987; 2nd in 1978; and won the State Championships in 1999 and 2015. Gene coached 3 McDonald’s All-American players—Isiah Thomas, Daryl Thomas, and Deryl Cunningham. Gene Pingatore is best remembered for his caring and compassion, to his players, his school and his coaching colleagues.