Davey Whitney

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Davey Whitney
Sport(s) Men's basketball
Biographical details
Born (1930-01-08)January 8, 1930
Midway, Kentucky
Died May 10, 2015(2015-05-10) (aged 85)
Biloxi, Mississippi
Playing career
1948–1952 Kentucky State
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1954–1964 Burt HS
1964–1969 Texas Southern
1969–1989 Alcorn A&M/Alcorn State
1989–1994 Wichita Falls Texans (asst.)
1994 Mississippi Coast Gamblers (asst.)
1996–2003 Alcorn State
Head coaching record
Overall 562–364
Tournaments 3–6 (NCAA D-I)
1–2 (NIT)
10–5 (NAIA D-I)
Accomplishments and honors
  • 12× SWAC regular season (1973, 1976, 1979–1982, 1984–1986, 1999–2000, 2002)
  • 6× SWAC Tournament (1980, 1982–1984, 1999, 2002)
  • CBA (1991)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2010

David Lee "Davey" Whitney Sr. (January 8, 1930 – May 10, 2015), also known as "The Wiz", was an American college basketball coach and the head basketball coach at Texas Southern University from 1964 to 1969 and Alcorn State University from 1969 to 1989 and 1996 to 2003. He amassed a total record of 566 wins and 356 losses in 33 years of coaching at these institutions.

Early life[edit]

David Lee Whitney was born in Midway, Kentucky but attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington while living with friends. At Dunbar, Whitney played at guard on the basketball team and led his school to the 1947 and 1948 tournaments of the Kentucky High School Athletic League, the state's black high school league, and the 1948 league title.[1]

He attended Kentucky State University and graduated in 1952. At Kentucky State, Whitney lettered in basketball, baseball, football, and track.[2] After college, Whitney started out playing Negro American League baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs as shortstop and third baseman, from 1952 to 1954.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Whitney began his coaching career in 1954 as varsity basketball head coach at Burt High School in Clarksville, Tennessee.[4][5] In ten seasons, Whitney led Burt to over 200 victories and the 1961 National Negro High School Basketball Championship.[5] He had his first collegiate job as head coach of Texas Southern University in 1964. He didn't fare well during his five years there. In 1969 he moved on to Alcorn A&M (which became Alcorn State in 1974), which had the reputation as a football school in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

Mainly recruiting local talent, Whitney was instrumental in making the Alcorn State men's basketball program a force in the SWAC during the 1970s and 1980s, with nine SWAC regular season titles.[6] He led the Braves to the 1974 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament championship game, the Braves' deepest postseason run to date. Two years after the Braves followed the SWAC to Division I, his Braves advanced to the second round of the 1979 National Invitation Tournament following an upset of Mississippi State in the first round.

In 1980, Alcorn State became the first HBCU to win a game in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, after beating South Alabama in the first round.[7] During his time at Alcorn, Whitney earned the nickname "The Wiz".[8]

In 1989, Alcorn State fired Whitney after three straight losing seasons in which they only won 18 games total. Whitney later became an assistant coach for the Wichita Falls Texans of the Continental Basketball Association and was part of the Texans' 1991 championship team. He later was an assistant for the Mississippi Coast Gamblers of the United States Basketball League. He returned to Alcorn State in 1996, taking over a program that had tallied only one winning season since his departure. Within three years, he had the Braves back in the NCAA Tournament.[9] He retired for good in 2003.

Whitney was known as a stern taskmaster, and his teams were a reflection of his hard-nosed personality. They were known for strong rebounding and tenacious defense. His 1998-99 team, for instance, was eighth in the nation in rebounding and gave up only 66.7 points per game.[9]

By the end of his career at Alcorn, Whitney has set many records, and set himself to be the second winningest coach in HBCU college basketball behind the late Clarence "Big House" Gaines, who coached at Winston-Salem State University.

The Braves' home arena, the 7,000-seat Davey Whitney Complex, was named in Whitney's honor in 1995.

He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.[10]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Texas Southern Tigers (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1964–1969)
1964–65 Texas Southern 6–20 4–10 T–6th
1965–66 Texas Southern 16–11 9–5 T–3rd
1966–67 Texas Southern 10–16 4–10 7th
1967–68 Texas Southern 11–12 5–9 6th
1968–69 Texas Southern 11–13 4–10 7th
Texas Southern: 54–72 26–44
Alcorn A&M/Alcorn State Braves (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1969–1989)
1969–70 Alcorn A&M 16–9 9–5 3rd
1970–71 Alcorn A&M 16–9 8–4 T–3rd
1971–72 Alcorn A&M 14–10 8–4 3rd
1972–73 Alcorn A&M 24–5 10–2 1st NAIA First Round
1973–74 Alcorn State 29–6 10–2 2nd NAIA Runners-Up
1974–75 Alcorn State 25–10 8–4 2nd NAIA Semifinals
1975–76 Alcorn State 27–4 10–2 1st NAIA First Round
1976–77 Alcorn State 26–9 5–7 6th NAIA Elite Eight
1977–78 Alcorn State 21–7 8–4 3rd
1978–79 Alcorn State 28–1 12–0 1st NIT Second Round
1979–80 Alcorn State 28–2 12–0 1st NCAA Round of 32
1980–81 Alcorn State 17–12 8–4 T–1st
1981–82 Alcorn State 22–8 10–2 T–1st NCAA Round of 48
1982–83 Alcorn State 22–10 10–4 3rd NCAA Round of 32
1983–84 Alcorn State 21–10 11–3 T–1st NCAA Round of 48
1984–85 Alcorn State 23–7 13–1 1st NIT First Round
1985–86 Alcorn State 16–13 11–3 T–1st
1986–87 Alcorn State 5–23 3–11 7th
1987–88 Alcorn State 8–21 5–9 T–5th
1988–89 Alcorn State 5–23 4–10 7th
Alcorn State (first): 393–199 175–81
Alcorn State Braves (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1996–2003)
1996–97 Alcorn State 11–17 8–6 3rd
1997–98 Alcorn State 12–15 8–8 6th
1998–99 Alcorn State 23–7 14–2 1st NCAA Round of 64
1999–00 Alcorn State 19–10 15–3 1st
2000–01 Alcorn State 15–15 13–5 T–3rd
2001–02 Alcorn State 21–10 16–2 1st NCAA Round of 64
2002–03 Alcorn State 14–19 10–8 5th
Alcorn State (second): 115–93 84–34
Alcorn State (both): 508–292 259–115
Total: 562–364

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Whitney died at his home in Biloxi, Mississippi on May 10, 2015 at the age of 85.[11]


  1. ^ Davis, Merlene (December 22, 2002). "Hey, coach, we know about your soft side". Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on January 15, 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Davey "The Wiz" Whitney, Sr. 1930-2015". Alcorn State University. May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Davey Whitney". Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Kentucky State University. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ Cleveland, Rick (January 24, 2015). "Davey Whitney remembers Ernie Banks". Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "House Joint Resolution No. 33" (PDF). Tennessee General Assembly. February 7, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ Stinson, Chuck (November–December 2012). "One of a Kind: ASU's Dave Whitney". Mississippi Sports. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ Kellenberger, Hugh (May 11, 2015). "Legendary Alcorn Coach Davey Whitney dies". Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ Russo, Ralph D. (February 28, 2003). "Alcorn State's Davey Whitney is retiring, not slowing down". Associated Press.  Also published by The Spokesman-Review as "Whitney leaves a winner."
  9. ^ a b Curtis, Jake (March 9, 1999). "Stanford Going Up Against an Institution". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  10. ^ http://www.collegebasketballexperience.com/2010
  11. ^ Johnson, Raphielle (May 10, 2015). "Former Alcorn State head coach Davey L. Whitney Sr. dies at 85". NBC Sports. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]