Winslow High School Athletic Director and girls' basketball coach Don Petranovich will be honored as the winningest girls' coach during the 20th century. The honor will be presented by officials of the Arizona Interscholastic Association during ceremonies at finals of the Arizona State Basketball Championship Tournament to be held in Phoenix on Feb. 23 and 24.
Petranovich recorded 506 victories during the past century while suffering only 104 losses. His career record at the end of the 2000-2001 regular season was 540 wins and 112 losses.
Among the many honors garnered by Petranovich have been being named Arizona Coaches Association Coach of the Year on several occasions, National Regional Coach of the Year, a member of the Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Arizona Athletic Director of the Year.
The Winslow Lady Bulldogs have won four Arizona State Championships under Petranovich and been state runners-up five times. They have also won 18 regional championships. The Lady Bulldogs are perennially among the top contenders for a state title and among the best girls' teams in the state regardless of classification.
Former Corona del Sol coach Sammy Duane will be honored as the all-time winnest boys' coach. Duane compiled a record of 663 wins before his retirement.
The two schools with the winnest boys' programs will also be honored. St. Johns had a record or 1,187 wins and Phoenix Union had 1,073 wins. Before closing its doors forever in 1982, the Phoenix Union Coyotes won a record 16 state championships between 1916 and 1968.
Also to be honored during the tournament are the 1951 Miami Vandals who led the nation in scoring, a Chandler Wolves team that upset Phoenix East in four overtimes to snap a 54 game Longhorn winning streak and a Joseph City girls' team which won the first of four consecutive state championships.
Coolidge teams, which won championships in both the boys' and girls' tournaments, will also be honored.
The anniversary field includes three 1976 teams: Ray Molera's 4A Nogales Apaches (24-2), Verl Heap's 2A St. Johns Redskins (21-2) and Jim Wilson's Seligman Antelopes (26-0). The 1951 "large school" champion Mesa Jackrabbits will also be saluted. Girls' teams to be honored include the then 4A Tuba City Lady Warriors of Kathy Lenington and the 2A Clifton Lady Trojans of Don Street, both 1976 state champions.
A graduate of Winslow High School, Petranovich was hired as the school's first girls' basketball coach in 1976. He has coached all but one year in the early 1980's when board rules restricted him from being both an athletic director and a coach. He has also coached boys' basketball, football and softball during his career at Winslow High School.
Petranovich married Claylene Burgett on Feb. 12, 1964. Claylene relates that most of her wedding anniversaries have been spent at basketball games or with Don gone most of the day practicing for impending contests.
"I should have known what our lives would be like from the day he proposed," she said. " He said that he was going to an Arizona State basketball game and would like me to go with him."
'Oh, sure,' I said, 'As if my folks would let me go to Tempe for a weekend with you.'
'They would if we were married,' he said.
A few days later we were married and spent our honeymoon like most of our anniversaries, at a basketball game."
The couple has two sons, Mike 35 and Erick 29. Erick Petranovich is a varsity assistant on the Winslow High School boys' basketball team.
Among Petranovich's many accomplishments is the establishing of the Winslow Winter Classic Girls Basketball Tournament as one of the most prestigious girls' tournaments in the western United States. The Winter Classic has been a showcase for some of Arizona's finest girls' teams and has drawn entrants from several neighboring states and from as far away as Alaska.