There's a new all-time high school basketball wins leader, and for the first time, it's a she, not a he.
As reported by the Associated Press, Granbury (Texas) High coach Leta Andrews, a 73-year-old who has been coaching high school basketball in Texas for nearly half a century, won her 1,334th game in charge of the Granbury Lady Pirates on Tuesday night. The victory broke the previous all-time wins record held by former Fort Worth Dunbar (Texas) High boys basketball coach Robert Hughes.
The honor puts yet another star on a career which has earned Andrews a spot in three different Halls of Fame -- the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Texas Sports Hall of Fame -- and the distinction of being an inaugural recipient of the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
"This is awesome," Andrews told the Associated Press after breaking the record. "I look back on my career, and some people think I'm crazy, but I have the best job of anybody in the world.
"I've worked for [boys coaches] who said, ‘It's OK if you win, as long as you don't win more games than I do. It just created an extra enthusiasm for me. I loved playing when I was in school and I had success, so I wanted the ladies to be successful."
Andrews is a cult figure in Granbury, a town of just 8,000 located less than an hour outside Fort Worth. The locals packed the gym for her record-setting victory, including a group of senior boys who painted their chests with her name and an exclamation mark. According to TexasHoops.com senior writer Damon Sayles, Granbury has been Andrews' fifth stop in Texas, after previous stints at Tolar, Gustine, Comanche, Granbury (she first coached at the school from 1976-80) and Corpus Christi Calallen. She won a Class 4A state title with Calallen in 1990.
The longtime coach has taught so many generations of different Granbury residents that she's a staple of community life, as is her husband of some 54 years, David, who has driven her team's bus to away games for years.
Yet it's Andrews' current and former players -- many of whom rushed back to the Granbury area for her record-breaking win -- who were most thankful and appreciate of all she's done, from helping advise them on college choices to washing their uniforms after games.
"It's the respect that you have for her, so you want to live up to her expectations," Lilley VanderZee, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, told the Associated Press.
For her part, Andrews said she planned to continue coaching as she always has, thankful for what she's already achieved and accomplished.
"It has been a wonderful ride," Andrews told the crowd after her victory, according to the Dallas Morning News. "I can never say enough thank yous. I have the best job of anybody in the world."
- Basketball Hall of Fame