David Lee 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.
David Lee Whitney was born in Midway, Kentucky and 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.
He attended Kentucky State University and graduated in 1952. At Kentucky State, Whitney lettered in basketball, baseball, football, and track. After college, Whitney started out playing Negro American League baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs as shortstop and third baseman, from 1952 to 1954.
Whitney began his coaching career in 1954 as varsity basketball head coach at Burt High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. In ten seasons, Whitney led Burt to over 200 victories and the 1961 National Negro High School Basketball Championship. He had his first collegiate job as head coach of Texas Southern University in 1964, but had only one winning season in five years. 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. He led the Braves to the 1974 NAIA Division I Men's 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. During his time at Alcorn, Whitney earned the nickname "The Wiz".
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. 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.
Whitney set many records during his career at Alcorn, establishing himself as the second winningest coach in HBCU college basketball history 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.