John Prunty – A Controversial Figure
Pruntytown and its founder, Henry Prunty, were notorious for their scandalous reputations. He was known as a “tempestuous, profane” figure and his town became renowned for its reformatory.
John was a New York City police officer who was indicted on charges that he shot a 15-year-old Brooklyn boy in the leg after he surrendered. He pleaded not guilty.
Early Life and Education
John Prunty was born on September 18, 1899 in Brookline, Massachusetts to Thomas and Mary Ann (Bicknell) Prunty. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, his master’s from UMSL and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.
The Prunty family has been in America since Colonial times and they are of Irish heritage. Many members of this prominent clan were prominent figures in Ritchie county, West Virginia’s history.
Some of these early pioneers include Jacob Prunty, known as the Beeson pioneer, Felix Prunty, Wilson Prunty and David Prunty. Their descendants include Dr. Frank Prunty of Belpre, Ohio; Dr. Shirley Prunty from Parkersburg; and M. R. Lowther from Parkersburg – men who have kept the family name and tradition alive even though other members are scattered across America.
John Prunty, known by his nickname Joe, has been in the coaching profession for two decades. He’s served as assistant coach with numerous teams such as Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks among others; currently serving as lead assistant coach of Atlanta Hawks.
The man himself (the narrator) is rather dry-witted, yet he has plenty to be proud of. He holds many awards and accolades including the most wins in NBA history; however, nothing quite compares to leading his beloved Hawks to a record-breaking season during his final year with them.
He has made an indelible mark on the world stage and remains one of the last remaining representatives of an earlier school approach to coaching. His passion for his profession and devotion to his team have allowed him to earn many trophies throughout his long career.
Achievements and Honors
John Prunty was a well-loved member of his community and an influential force in politics. He served as State Senator for many years, while his family’s roots run deep in West Virginia.
He was a renowned scholar, teacher, and public speaker. A proud member of the Association of American Geographers, he received numerous awards for his academic and professional accomplishments.
Every year, The Association for Geology and Anthropology (AAG) honors outstanding contributions by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to their discipline and public service outside academia. Nominations are solicited late spring and announced via AAG Newsletter and social media platforms. Ultimately, it is up to the Council to select deserving awardees.
John was an exemplary father with a genuine love and admiration for his son. He had an eye-for-detail, making entertaining friends and family an easy feat. John enjoyed golfing, hiking, camping and watching Cleveland sports with great enthusiasm.
He was an enthusiastic fisherman and well-read man. His library contained books on various subjects such as theology, history, engineering – he was always learning something new!
His favorite saying was, “It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with.” He made the most of his relationships with family and friends; a proud member of his community who will be missed by all who knew him. Most importantly, however, was his relationship with his son “Johnny,” whom he loved like a son; truly a proud parent who took great pride in all his accomplishments and successes.
John Prunty is a renowned basketball coach who has coached many renowned NBA stars. In 23 seasons as an assistant coach for seven different teams, John served as the leading assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2018.
Prunty achieved great success during his high school basketball career and went on to play for several college teams. Additionally, in 1991 he earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
After college, he moved to San Antonio and joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant video coordinator in April 1997. Two years later he was promoted to assistant coach and has coached three teams that won championships during his professional basketball coaching career.