Tree memorial dedication in honor of former Taft High School coach Frank Hood set for April 30; he once said best teams were the ones in which players worked the hardest, not necessarily won the most games
by BRIAN NADIG
A tree dedication ceremony in honor of former Taft High School boys’ basketball and girls’ softball coach Frank Hood will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Taft varsity campus, 6530 N. Bryn Mawr Ave.
“Some alumni from the Class of 1990 reached out to me and offered to buy a memorial tree in honor of their Coach Frank Hood. Many of our veteran teachers and some of our alumni teachers know Frank was a wonderful coach at Taft for many years.
“If Taft had a Mount Rushmore of coaches Frank would surely be one of the coaches,” said Taft principal Mark Grishaber.
Hood, who graduated from Steinmetz High School in 1958, won 674 high school basketball games, coaching at Taft, Von Steuben, Saint Edward in Elgin and Rockford Christian. He also won about 260 softball games while at Taft,
Hood is in the Illinois and Chicago Public League coaches hall of fame. He died at the age of 81 in January of 2021.
When once asked to list his best basketball teams, Hood told Nadig Newspapers that “best” does not necessarily mean the most wins. He said that he most admired the teams in which his players worked the hardest, no matter the talent level.
“I loved coaching,” Hood said in 2013 Taft Alumni Association newsletter. “I loved being with kids.” A plaque by the tree describes Hood as a “teacher, mentor, coach.”
The tree is being planted behind the baseball/softball field backstop along Northcott Avenue, where Hood once coached softball games. The dedication will be at 9 a.m., followed by a Taft girls’ softball doubleheader.