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Legendary SWAC basketball coach Dave “The Wiz” Whitney died Sunday at his home in Biloxi, Mississippi.

He was 85 years old.

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Whitney coached at Texas Southern University from 1964-1969 before moving on to Mississippi’s Alcorn State University (1969-1989,1996-2003) where his legend would be cemented.

Read more from the Sun Herald:

He’s a member of the National Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

At Alcorn State, Whitney became a coaching legend. Alcorn became the first historically black university to win an NCAA Tournament game. He went 510-293 in 27 years at Alcorn. Another highlight under Whitney was the school defeating Mississippi State 80-78 in the 1979 NIT Tournament.

“I got into the game because I wanted to help kids, and I wanted to win,” Whitney told the Sun Herald in 2010. Whitney is survived by his wife of 62 years, Bernice, five children: Gail, Libby, Lisa, Doreen and Davey, Jr., and four grandchildren: Ashantee, Aubrei, Corey and Duonne.

The Whitney family said they plan to release a statement at a later date.

Whitney also played shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro League baseball franchise, in the early 1950’s. Whitney replaced the late Ernie Banks as the Monarchs’ starting shortstop. Whitney held the position until he left the team in 1954 to coach high school basketball at Clarksville, Tenn.

Whitney won 12 SWAC championships, reports USA Today.

Whitney was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Bernice, and five children: Gail, Libby, Lisa, Doreen and Davey, Jr., and four grand-children Ashantee, Aubrei, Corey and Duonne, reports

Twitter reacts to the loss of the legendary coach:


Dave Whitney: Legendary SWAC Basketball Coach Dies At 85  was originally published on

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