Morgan Park Academy varsity girls basketball coach Tom Drahozal was inducted into the state basketball hall of fame on May 6, 2023, capping a historic year for the program that he built into one of the most successful in IHSA Class 1A.
Drahozal has amassed 524 wins in 35 seasons at the Academy: 418 in 28 seasons as varsity girls coach after winning 106 with the boys. He ranks in the top 50 in the history of Illinois girls basketball for the most wins with one school.
“It is wonderful to have this occasion to celebrate the success that Coach Drahozal and his teams have achieved,” MPA athletics director Vinson Williams said. “He is one of the most outstanding coaches in our school’s history, with a legacy of leadership that has positively impacted the lives of so many students and colleagues across three decades.”
In the 2022-23 season, Drahozal was district coach of the year for the fifth time as the Warriors extended their run of outstanding play in recent years, setting program records with 23 wins and a .793 winning percentage en route to the Class 1A Sweet Sixteen, a program-best finish matched only by the 2012-13 team.
They posted the program’s 20th consecutive winning season and captured a ninth regional championship, making it three titles for the senior trio of Sheridan Harris, Nora Perry, and Michaela Olimene, who lost their sophomore season to the pandemic.
Harris, a multi-talented, indefatigable, 5-foot-8 forward, made a case for herself as the best player in program history, becoming the first MPA athlete in any sport to earn All-State honors three times. After receiving All-State special mention as a freshman, she made the second team and first team, respectively, the past two seasons.
Despite playing less than three full seasons because of the pandemic, Harris scored 1,113 career points, ranking sixth in program history, and grabbed 1,186 rebounds, breaking Liana Akkawi’s 15-year-old program record.
Now, the Warriors have another chance to celebrate, with Drahozal’s induction by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
“This milestone is more about the players and assistant coaches that have played or coached with me,” Drahozal said. “Without them I would not have been able to have been able to get here.
“When I started coaching girls basketball at MPA in 1994, my goal was to show that the girls program could be successful. I think that we have been able to do that.”
Drahozal joined the MPA faculty in 1987 as a social studies teacher and has been Upper School principal since 2010.
He was an assistant coach and eventually a head coach for successful varsity boys basketball teams before taking over the varsity girls program in 1994.
Drahozal also won more than 200 games and an armful of accolades in three decades leading the MPA baseball program.
He was inducted in the school’s athletics hall of fame in 2011.
Founded in 1973, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame honors the best and most influential players, teams, coaches, media, officials, and friends of basketball in Illinois history. Learn more at ibcaillinois.org and basketballmuseumofillinois.com.