LORMAN, MS – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Men’s Basketball Championship trophy to be named after Kentucky State University grad and Alcorn State University sports figure Coach Davey L. Whitney.
According to a press release from the university, SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted to name the Men’s SWAC Championship Basketball Tournament trophy after legendary Coach Whitney.
Alcorn State’s President Alfred Rankins Jr. commended the Council for recognizing Whitney’s achievements.
“I am pleased that the SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors recognized the great accomplishment and contributions of Coach Whitney by naming the tournament championship trophy in his honor,” said Rankins. “Coach Whitney was one of the best Division I coaches of all time.”
Whitney, who passed away in 2015, coached at Alcorn from 1969 to 1989 and 1996 to 2003. Under his leadership, Alcorn beat Mississippi State 80-78 in the 1979 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Whitney led Alcorn to a win against South Alabama in the first round of the 1980 NCAA Tournament, which was the first time a historically black college and university had won in the tournament. Whitney also led Alcorn to NCAA Tournament wins in 1983 and 1984 and six appearances in the dance. Whitney finished his career with a record of 566-356 and 12 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships.
Whitney was named SWAC Coach of the Year nine times. He was elected to the Kentucky State University Hall of Fame in 1976, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, the Alcorn State University Hall of Honors in 1993, the Alcorn State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Whitney graduated from Kentucky State University in 1952. After KSU, he started playing Negro American League baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs, from 1952 to 1954. Whitney began his coaching career in 1954 as varsity basketball head coach at Burt High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. He led Burt to over 200 victories and the 1961 National Negro High School Basketball Championship. His first collegiate job as head coach was at Texas Southern University in 1964. He moved to Alcorn A&M (which became Alcorn State in 1974) as head coach in 1969.
The Whitney family expressed their appreciation upon receiving the good news. Gail Whitney, Coach Whitney’s daughter, said the family is grateful for the love and support that the SWAC and the University has shown for her late father.
“The Whitney family would like to extend our appreciation to the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Alcorn State University for honoring the legacy of our father, Davey “The Wiz” Whitney, Sr.,” said Whitney. “We look forward to the first presentation of the trophy at the 2017-2018 SWAC Basketball Tournament Championship.”