Abraham Lincoln has a new head coach, but Kenny Pretlow doesn’t expect much to change around the school’s storied boys’ basketball program.
“When you buy a house, you don’t change the foundation,” Pretlow said. “The foundation is strong. You might do a little redecorating.”
His promotion to succeed legendary headman Dwayne “Tiny” Morton was announced last week. Morton has retired from teaching math at PS 288 and confirmed he will join the coaching staff at Seton Hall University this fall after 19 seasons at Lincoln, as reported in September.
The South Orange, N.J. school, which is also the destination for Railsplitters stars Isaiah Whitehead and Desi Rodriguez, has yet to officially announce the hiring.
Pretlow was Morton’s assistant for 12 seasons, and Morton had pushed for his protege to succeed him.
“He has experience being around New York City basketball for over three decades,” Morton said. “He’s just a teacher on the basketball court.”
Pretlow, who is an attendance aide at Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology, brings plenty of years on the bench with him. He spent 10 seasons at Bishop Loughlin where has served as the junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant under Bob Leckie and Ted Gustus. Pretlow also coached at Brooklyn Law and Tech for the last six years. The Jets produced a Division I player in Matthew Scott, and reached the Public School Athletic League Class A semifinals last season.
He feels his background and learning from Morton has him ready to take on the task of guiding the Railsplitters. The rest of Morton’s coaching staff is expected to return to assist Pretlow.
“I think they were impressed that I could keep the program and not stray too much from what Tiny built,” Pretlow said. “I’ve been with him through pretty much all the championships. We learned a lot. I pretty much now how hard he worked to establish Lincoln as a national power.”
Lincoln Athletic director Renan Ebeid said she felt it was important to maintain the integrity of the program by hiring from within, but considered Pretlow an excellent pick in his own right.
“He has impressed me with the way he handles the pressure during a game and his mannerism with the kids,” said Ebeid. “He was the brain behind Dwayne when it came to game plans.”
Pretlow does expect to make some changes — or “little twists” as he calls them — such as training to be more of a fast-breaking team. He wants to keep the pride, especially when it comes to Coney Island, that Morton built. He knows he has “huge shoes” to fill, but Pretlow is confident.
“The pressure, I’m not feeling that,” Pretlow said. “I’m not scared or anything. I know I am going to be able to do the job to the best of my ability and I have a lot of support around me.”