By Claire Lindsey, Journalism Intern
After years of dribbling, scoring, and competing on basketball teams in the US and Puerto Rico, Santiago “Chago” Gotay has been awarded a spot in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame.
Gotay was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but he came to the US in 1980 to finish his last two years of high school. He wanted to play basketball in college, but he knew that he needed to come to the states to show his skill.
“Back in the day there was no internet,” Gotay said. “In order for scouts to know who you were, you had to come to the states and participate in camps.”
Gotay and his family looked for schools in the New England area, as well as New York. After being called to tour Bishop Boyle High School in Pittsburgh, Gotay had made his decision.
“I said ‘Listen, I like Pittsburgh.’”
He played on the Bishop Boyle basketball team for two years. The first year, they were one game short of making the WPIAL finals. The second year, they made an exciting comeback.
“The second year we won it all,” Gotay said. “We won the WPIAL, we beat those guys then we won the state in 1982.”
Gotay’s name is everywhere after his team’s 1982 victory. Just as he had come to the states to do, he attracted college recruiters. He ended up at Utica College in New York competing on their division one basketball team.
During his time at Utica, Gotay was also playing in a professional league back in Puerto Rico. There, he and his team captured 3 championship titles.
Though Gotay has since become more of a business man than a basketball star, his accomplishments have not been forgotten.
Earlier this year, Gotay received a call from John Giammarco of the Pittsburgh Basketball Club.
“He calls me up and tells me ‘Here’s the reason why I’m calling. You will receive a letter from the Pittsburgh Basketball Club because your name was selected to be in the Basketball Club Hall of Fame in Pittsburgh.’” Gotay recalled.
Giammarco told Gotay that the club had decided it was his time to be recognized for all he had achieved.
“It was great. It took me by surprise,” said Gotay. “I never expected to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s a good feeling.”
The ceremony will be held in February of 2022. Gotay will be inducted into the Legends Division of the Hall of Fame and will be considered “basketball royalty” by the Pittsburgh Basketball Club.
Today, Gotay lives and works in Pittsburgh. He shoots some hoops here and there, but he spends much of his time working with SGM Investments, helping businesses with finances.
To all young athletes who hope to become legends one day, Gotay says to “ask questions and work hard at whatever you do.”
“We need more Latino players,” Gotay added. “The Latino community is not the tallest, but you just have to be a good player in your position and put the work in.”