Before Coppin State in 1997 and Hampton in 2001, there was the 1980 Alcorn State Braves. That team became the first from an HBCU to win a game in the Division I NCAA tournament. Sunday it was announced by the school that the man who led that team, Davey “The Wiz” Whitney, passed away at 85 at his home in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Whitney led the Braves from 1969-89 and from 1996-2003, winning 566 games and 12 SWAC title during those years. Prior to taking over at Alcorn State, he was the head coach at Texas Southern from 1964-69. In that 1980 NCAA tournament appearance, Alcorn State beat South Alabama in the first round before falling to one-seed LSU in the second round.
Whitney was at the helm for all six of the program’s NCAA tournament appearances, the last of which coming in 2002. Whitney’s best player during his time at Alcorn State was forward Larry Smith, the leading scorer on that 1980 team, and he played 13 seasons in the NBA from 1981-93.
Elected into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, Whitney received the school’s Athletic Heritage Award in 2013 and the school’s basketball arena is named in his honor as well.