BROOKLYN, NY - On Tuesday, the Milk River Club in Crown Heights was packed and abuzz with friends, co-workers, family, coaches, players and well-wishers.
Abraham Lincoln Head Coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton was honored at a retirement party as he stepped down from the post he held for 19 seasons.
During Coach Morton's tenure as head coach of the Lincoln Railspiltters, the Brooklyn, NY team won an amazing three state championships and eight PSAL city championship. One could argue that Morton singlehandedly put Coney Island on the map and the packed house was there to let it be known that the Morton's feats should be recognized.
Legendary Scout Tom Konchalski said that Morton and the PSAL high school created a "Mount Rushmore" of great players that included Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, Lance Stephenson, Isaiah Whitehead and honorary member Jamel Thomas.
Many spoke about Morton, above and beyond his coaching abilities. Desi Rodriguez, one of the graduating Railsplitters spoke about how Coach Morton was a father figure to him as his biological father was not around and his older brother was incarcerated. "I am not only the first person in my family to go to college but the first person in my family to graduate high school," he said. "Now I am going to Seton Hall." Rodriguez said he would keep his comments brief because, "I will see you for four more years [at Seton Hall]."
Morton is retiring as a math teacher and high school basketball coach at Abraham Lincoln and PS 288 but not from the game of basketball. He will be start a new career as an assistant coach with the Seton Hall men's basketball program next season. Lincoln teammates Whitehead and Rodriguez along with Brooklynite Khadeen Carrington are also committed to attending the Big East School.
After multiple speeches from friends, mentors and even rivals and a roaster, Renan Ebeid, the Athletic Director at Lincoln, presented Coach Morton with a very special award. It included a miniaturized replica of his all his championship trophies complete with a gym and hanging banners.
The dinner ended with and emotional Coach Morton showing his appreciation to all those who came, saying it was a privilege to hear how people feel about him. "Most don't get to hear these things said about them because it's usually said at funerals."
Morton's assistant coach Kenny Pretlow, put it quite eloquently. "He may be going across the bridge but he's still the Godfather of Lincoln."