Sunday, July 16, 2017

SWAC Basketball Tournament Trophy To Be Named After Legendary Coach Davey Whitney

LORMAN, Mississippi  -- The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) men's basketball championship trophy will bear the name of an iconic Alcorn State University sports figure.

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted to name the Men's SWAC Championship Basketball Tournament trophy after the legendary Coach Davey L. Whitney.

Whitney posted a 508-292 record at Alcorn including a 259-115 mark in the SWAC. He coached the Braves for 27 seasons over two stints from 1969-89 and 1996-03.

Whitney guided Alcorn to 12 SWAC Championships and was a nine-time SWAC Coach of the Year winner. His 508 wins are the most in school history, ahead of Dwight Fisher who recorded 190 victories from 1948-56.

Furthermore, Whitney coached three SWAC Player of the Year winners (Larry Smith twice and Michael Phelps once) and six SWAC Tournament MVP's (Larry Smith twice, Aaron Brandon twice, Albert Irving and Marcus Fleming).

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 to a win over 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 guided Alcorn to NCAA Tournament wins in 1983 and 1984 and six appearances in the dance.

Whitney 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.

The Whitney family expressed their appreciation upon receiving the good news. Gail Whitney, Coach Whitney's daughter, said that 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."

Alcorn renamed its basketball gym to the Davey L. Whitney Complex in 1995. It was previously known as Scalpin' Grounds Arena. Whitney was one of the few coaches in the history of the sport to ever coach in a building that was named after him.


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