Harry Kinnan inducted into third Hall of Fame

School's winningest men's hoops coachinducted to 3rd hall

adell@bradenton.comJanuary 9, 2014 

Former Manatee Community College coach Harry Kinnan, center, celebrates his Florida College Systems Activities Association Hall of Fame induction with his wife, Sue, and son Patrick in Orlando. PROVIDED PHOTO

BRADENTON -- At 72, Harry Kinnan thought his hall of fame days were over.

But the man who nurtured the Manatee Community College men's basketball program to national prominence learned his accomplishments continue to impress people.

Kinnan, a member of the School Board of Manatee County for 16 years after his coaching days, was recently inducted into the Florida College Systems Activities Association Hall of Fame and will be honored by his old school (now called State College of Florida) later this month.

It's the third hall of fame for Kinnan, and he admits those honors never get old. He is also a member of the Florida Community College Men's Basketball Hall of Fame (1995 induction) and the State College of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame (2006).

"To be recognized in any way is very flattering to me and my family," Kinnan said. "The community college system for many is their family's first access to higher education. It's one of the strongest parts of our education in the state. I credit my mother, Marjorie,

for instilling the importance of education into me and my brother and sister."

Kinnan coached MCC from 1977 through 1996, winning a program-record 367 games while averaging 19 victories per season. He went to the state tournament seven times, won it once and was runner-up twice.

Kinnan's 1992 squad was his best, finishing with a 27-3 record that included an 18-game winning streak.

He coached two All-Americans in Martin Teal, who played at USF, and Oscar Taylor, who played at the University of New Orleans and was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers.

"To be successful coaching junior college basketball you have to be able to evaluate talent," Kinnan said. "You have to see that player who is undersized and maybe an inch or two too short or maybe played out of position or was a late bloomer."

Kinnan believed in getting as many local players on his squad as possible and helped jump-start a lot of basketball careers for area players.

Current SCF head coach Elliott Washington played for Kinnan as did Palmetto High head coach Reggie Bellamy and former Southeast standout Stan Cromartie, now assistant athletic director at Edward Waters College.

"Coach Kinnan molded me from a high school point guard to a Division I point guard where I was able to play at Alabama," Washington said. "He gave me the foundation to be a good coach. He was so knowledgeable, and the program was rock solid when I was there ('89-91)."

Kinnan played multiple sports at Manatee High and baseball at Stetson College. He coached basketball for nine years at Lake Worth High, compiling an impressive 161-47 record before being offered the MCC job.

Cromartie coached college basketball for 23 years and said it was Kinnan who made things easier and prepared him for what to expect.

"He was one of my greatest mentors and made me fall in love with basketball," Cromartie said. "I credit how he handled young men, and he prepared me to be a successful coach. He was a great coach, outstanding person and a great teacher."

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