Whitney inducted into Hall of Fame

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LORMAN — Legendary Alcorn State University basketball coach Davey Whitney was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame along with seven others this past Sunday.

Whitney’s teams won 711 games during his 35 years on the job, but the ‘Wiz’ did much more than win basketball games.

He earned more letters than any other athlete at Kentucky State, and then brought his ASU program to heights that never seemed possible.

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The Braves dominated the SWAC with nine championships and little recognition until 1979, when Whitney guided his team to a berth in the NIT, one of the first for a historically black institution. Alcorn State also upset in-state rival Mississippi State in the opening round.

The next year, ASU earned a berth in the NCAA tournament, one of four for Whitney coached teams, and topped South Alabama in the opening round.

USA Basketball has recognized Whitney’s coaching talents on several national teams and he was the recipient of the NCAA’s first Journey Award in 1972.

Whitney’s teams won a total of 12 SWAC championships. Whitney’s ASU Braves became the first historically black college team to win an NIT game. One year later, Alcorn became the first historically black college to win an NCAA tournament game.

Whitney started his coaching career at Burt High School in Nashville, Tenn., and coached at Texas Southern for five years before moving to Alcorn State.

Whitney’s assistant for most of those years was Lonnie Walker, an Alcorn State Hall of Famer who later went on to coach the Braves himself.