On Sunday night, just before the boy varsity basketball tip-off vs. Archbishop Carroll, the school took a moment to recognized long-time head coach, Joe Wootten, for reaching the 500-win mark with his Bishop O’Connell Knights.
Coach Wootten’s 500th career victory actually took place on Jan. 5, 2023, midway through his 24th season at Bishop O’Connell, when his Knights defeated St. Mary’s Ryken at home, 81-65, bringing his overall record to 500-247.
At Sunday’s event, Head of School Bill Crittenberger and members of the athletics office invited his family to center court and presented him with a commemorative ball and jersey. The Knights went on to tally the 504th win that night, defeating Carroll, 59-55.
Coach Wootten took over as head coach of the O’Connell boys basketball program in 1999, and since 2010, he has also served as the school’s Athletic Director. He has been selected as the Arlington County Coach of the Year four times, Virginia State Independent School Coach of the Year three times, and WCAC Coach of the Year once. His influence on the game goes well beyond wins and losses in the high school ranks. Over his 24 seasons as head coach at Bishop O’Connell, Wootten has had more than 85 college players and managers, and 11 professional players. Additionally, 20 of his former assistant coaches have become head high school or college coaches.
He has also been a positive role model in youth basketball, through the Coach Wootten’s Basketball overnight and day camps in Northern Virginia and Maryland, as well as the Coach Wootten’s Top 150 Camp in Dallas, Texas. Outside of his camps he has hosted numerous youth and coaches clinics nationally and internationally, and currently serves as the Chairman of the McDonald’s All American Games, the pinnacle of high school basketball, featuring future WNBA and NBA prospects.
“Coach Wootten is a tremendous leader in this community,” said Bishop O’Connell Head of School, Bill Crittenberger. “I deeply appreciate his contribution to our school—obviously as a basketball coach, but also as a man of great purpose, energy and joyfulness.”
Joe Wootten is the son of the late Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten who coached at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. He and his wife, Terri Lynn, along with their three children—Alexa '21, Reese '25, and Jackson—are parishioners at St. Mark in Vienna.