During the first 17 years of the MEAC Tournament, the Aggies of North Carolina A&T dominated the field; winning multiple titles from 1972 to 1988, including a run of seven straight tournament titles from 1982 to 1988 under coach Don Corbett. The Aggies currently lead the conference with a total of 15 conference titles. Through the 1970s and ‘80s, the conference witnessed several different tournament champions. The Eagles of Coppin State University won three titles during the 1990s (1990, 1993 and 1997) and earned seven No. 1 seeds. CSU Coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell also won six MEAC Coach of the Year honors, tying him with Corbett.
In 2008, Mitchell guided his Eagles to their fourth tournament title with a 62–60 win over The Bears of Morgan State University. The Number 7 seed Eagles earned its way to the finals after getting by the Bison of Howard University in the first round, followed by the Spartans of Norfolk State in the quarterfinal, and then the Pirates of Hampton and Morgan State Bears respectively. From 1989 to 2003, the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University captured more championship titles than any other team in the MEAC. Led by coach Cy Alexander, the Bulldogs won five tournament titles (1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2003) and earned the top seed going into the tournament six times.
Among many outstanding MEAC players, NC A&T's James Sparrow, three time MVP, Eric Boyd, Howard University'sLarry Spriggs, and most recently, Coppin State University'sTywain McKee. Sparrow, who earned two tournament Outstanding Performer honors, posted 21 points and 13 rebounds in the 1978 championship game against Morgan State. Three time Tournament MVP Larry Spriggs of Howard averaged over 14 points and seven rebounds each year during the MEAC tourney. In more recent MEAC history, Coppin State’s Tywain McKee holds the record for most total points scored during a single tournament with 93 during the 2008 tourney. McKee is also known for his 2008 championship game performance against number 1 seed Morgan; in which McKee scoring on a five-foot floater with three seconds remaining to clinch the 2008 title.