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Compton High School honors coaching legend Bill Armstrong, Saturday

School will name basketball court after  Coach Bill Armstrong, whose National Championship teams in 1968-69 were 62-0 COMPTON (MNS) — A giant in local sports lore is coming home on Saturday, May 14, 2016.  Legendary former

School will name basketball court after  Coach Bill Armstrong, whose National Championship teams in 1968-69 were 62-0

COMPTON (MNS) — A giant in local sports lore is coming home on Saturday, May 14, 2016.  Legendary former Compton High School basketball coach, Bill Armstrong, the most recognized coach in U.S. prep basketball history, esteemed with two National Coach of the Year, and four CIF Coach of The Year awards, will be honored posthumously with the basketball court at Compton High officially named in his honor.

A dedication ceremony will commence at 2 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

William “Bill” Armstrong is one of the most iconic names in high school basketball. The incomparable coach of Compton’s basketball teams was compared to UCLA’s prolific coach John Wooden, on a high school level, whose powerhouse teams at Compton High were perennial favorites in the 1960s to win the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) basketball title each year.

Armstrong transformed Compton High School varsity basketball into a dynasty between 1958-1972. His teams won 12 Coast League titles and finished in second place twice. In his very first year as coach at Compton High in 1958, Armstrong led the Tarbabes to the state title, then went on to capture CIF Titles in ’61, ’63, ’68 and ’69.

His ’68 and ’69 teams were back-to-back National Champions. During that two-year stretch, the Tarbabes blazed a winning streak of 62-0 (66 straight wins); the first California basketball team in history to win consecutive titles while going undefeated.

It should also be noted that Armstrong’s 1961 team went 28-3 and was the 1961 State Team of the Year. In 1968 and 1969, the team’s records were 32-0 and 30-0.

If Wooden, who was a close friend of Armstrong’s, was nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood” during the Bruins’ reign, then, Armstrong was certainly the “Wizard of Compton” during his 14 seasons at the helm. The team amassed 14 consecutive CIF playoff appearances — still a school and CIF record.

Blue chip stars who played for Armstrong included Larry Hollyfield, Louis Nelson, and Michael Hopwood. Standouts in other sports who also played basketball under Armstrong included Reynaldo Brown (Track & Field, high jump, 1968 Olympian,), Roy Jefferson (NFL wide receiver/Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts, Washington Redskins), and Marv Fleming ( NFL, tight end/Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins).

Armstrong passed away 13 years ago on Jan. 4, 2003 in West Virginia where he was born in 1917, and where he began his coaching career. The ceremony in the Compton High gymnasium will include members of his family, who are making the trip to California to take part in the special honor.

Highlights of Bill Armstrong’s illustrious prep basketball coaching career include:

  • Armstrong’s ‘68 and ‘69 teams were listed among the Powerade ESPN Fabulous 50 All-Time No. 1 High School basketball teams.
  • Amassed 600 high school basketball career wins
  • Top-ranked basketball coach in California by several prep magazines out of 660 schools during his coaching career
  • Overall career coaching record of 908-298 for a winning percentage of .672 and 25 league championships
  • Two-Time “National Coach of The Year” recipient
  • Charter member of the CIF Sports Hall of Fame
  • The winningest high school basketball coach in California history at the time of his death at age 85.

For more information, call (562) 208-5800 or (323) 984-6132.

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton and the Los Angeles metropolitan area of California, and the world.

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