Alcorn celebrates the life of Davey L. Whitney Sr.

The life and legacy of one of Alcorn State University’s icons was celebrated with a memorial.

Family, friends, colleagues and former players gathered Saturday, June 6 to pay tribute to former Alcorn men’s basketball coach Davey L. Whitney Sr. at the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex. Alcorn’ President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. applauded Whitney for his role in bringing positive accolades to the University.

“We are here to celebrate the life of a man who helped put a small school on a big map,” said Rankins. “He earned the respect and admiration of his fellow Alcornites, Mississippians, the nation and the world.”

Mississippi Senator Albert Butler presented a resolution to the Whitney family. Butler, a Port Gibson, Miss. native, expressed how Coach Whitney and his family were great people.

“Coach Whitney and his family not only made their home in Claiborne County, but they got out and interacted with the people.”

Alcorn football coach Jay Hopson also made a presentation to the Whitney family and credited Coach Whitney for encouraging the football team during their historic championship season.

“Coach Whitney taught me a lot of things during our visits,” said Hopson. “He was an important part of the football team’s success.”

Andrew Tatum, who played under Coach Whitney from 1971-1973, thanked the Whitney family for accepting the team into their home and reminisced about how Coach Whitney prepared them for success on the basketball court.

“Thanks for extending your household to us. Your home was a home away from home for all of us. His plan was to make sure that his players were well conditioned. We came from the same system. We represented what our coach was. We have a lot of respect for him and he will always be in our hearts and minds.”

Richard Horton, who was coached by Whitney from 1977-1980, spoke about his admiration for Coach Whitney’s basketball intelligence.

“There are so many things that I can say about Coach Whitney. He was a genius because he was successful at everything he did. He will always be remembered as a great coach and family man. He did things that made us better men. Coach Whitney is a legend.”

Jayne Washington, who did a musical selection, remembered how Coach Whitney was like a father to her.

“I was truly blessed by his presence. He helped me by being a father figure to me. I thank God for coach Whitney.

Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Jason Cable, who played for Coach Whitney from 1998-2002, said that Whitney taught his team the importance of consistency and staying focused on their studies.

“His way was being consistent. I can’t remember a practice where he wasn’t there or a day where he wasn’t at work. He taught us to be responsible for our own success in life. It is important to earn your degree.”

Former Alcorn head football coach Marino “The Godfather” Casem spoke about Coach Whitney’s greatness in the world of coaching.

“Coach Whitney was a giant among men in the world of coaching. He earned his greatness through diligence and hard work. He exemplified what success and excellence stands for.”

Al Wheathers Johnson, a friend of Coach Whitney, mentioned how generous he was and how he would rush to the aid of those in need.

“I knew him as a dear friend. He was a good friend. Whatever you would ask, he would be willing to help. He will truly be missed.”

Gail Whitney, who spoke on behalf of the family, acknowledged how her father’s influence in the lives of others will always be remembered.

“We are thankful for all that you have done for us over the years. The work he did and the lives he touched will always be treasured.”

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Marcus Ward closed the memorial by remembering how Coach Whitney’s success with the men’s basketball team gave life to his college experience.

“Today is about a home going and a home coming. He was an architect and his players were the builders. Had it not been for him, I would not have enjoyed my years at Alcorn as much as I did. He was more than just a coach. His work was truly monumental.”

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