Looking back: Former Alcorn State head basketball coach Dave "Davey" Whitney

Looking back: Former Alcorn State head basketball coach Dave "Davey" Whitney

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Davey Whitney proved his ability to coach. For 31 years Whitney called the shots at Alcorn State and Texas Southern. His overall record, 550 victories and 337 defeats.

He guided Alcorn State from 1969 through 1988 and again from 1996 through the 2002 season and produced 495 games under the win column.

The 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Lorman is named the Davey Whitney Complex.

In 2011 he told me in an interview that he learned under outstanding men.

"McClendon was my mentor, the great McClendon had three championships at Tennessee State, NAIA, "stated Whitney. "He was the first black coach in the NBA and the ABA.  So, I had some good guys that taught me a lot."

Growing up in Midway, Kentucky, Whitney says he excelled in baseball and basketball.

Whitney said, "I made All-State a couple of years.  Made all National one year because at the time there was no integration than.  They would take 16 teams from 16 different states and have the National Championship and I happened to be on the team that won in Kentucky and I made All-National and 16 years later when I was coaching we won one."

Whitney's true love was baseball. He played shortstop from 1952 through 1954 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League, replacing Ernie Banks who was called up to the majors.

Whitney later became a basketball coach and he excelled. At Alcorn State his Braves won 12 SWAC titles.

Coach said that he loved basketball at an early age.

"I use to go out at night with my dog, "stated Whitney.   "I would slip out at 10:00  or 10:30 at night and just shoot basketballs.  There was an elderly lady there in the neighborhood and she said that boy won't amount to anything and I remember that more than anything else."

That lady was obviously wrong in her prediction.

Whitney later became an assistant coach with the Mississippi Jets in the old CBA league and he helped coach Phoenix College in Gulfport to a women's National Championship.

Coach Whitney was one of the nicest men I ever met, a true gentleman , who will be missed, but not forgotten.

Copyright 2015 WLOX.  All Rights Reserved.