ATLANTA – University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff men’s basketball head coach George Ivory has joined the legends of the illustrious Southwestern Athletic Conference in the league’s Hall of Fame.
Ivory was inducted Friday night during the SWAC’s ceremony in conjunction with the Celebration Bowl, along with Alabama State’s Freda Freeman-Jackson, Alcorn State’s Teresa Hooker, Grambling State’s Autrey Lane Howell (posthumously) and Patricia Cage-Bibbs, Jackson State’s Richard Caster (Legend), Prairie View A&M’s Dr. John Grandville (Legends - Posthumously), and Texas Southern’s John “Doc” Harvey.
“It feels great to be honored in this great class,” Ivory said. “Most of them I already knew, and the others I had heard about. It’s a great honor to be in this class. I’m happy for Mississippi Valley State and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to be a part of both institutions in this induction into the SWAC Hall of Fame.”
A star player at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., Ivory was a four-year starter at Mississippi Valley State, leading the Delta Devils to the NCAA Tournament. Ivory is in his 12th season as UAPB head coach.
Ivory made an immediate impact in his college career as he was named SWAC Freshman of the Year following the 1984 season. Ivory averaged 11.4 points and 5.1 assists per game in guiding MVSU to its first winning season in program history.
As a sophomore, Ivory helped lead the 1985 team to 18 wins and a third-place finish in the SWAC while averaging 9.4 points and 4.5 assists per game and a win in the Georgia Invitational Tournament in a field of the top HBCU teams.
In his junior season, Ivory led the Delta Devils to a 20-win season and the SWAC Tournament Championship. He averaged nearly 16 points and five assists per game in earning SWAC Tournament MVP honors. Ivory and Mississippi Valley State advanced to the 1986 NCAA Tournament, where it gave #1-ranked Duke all it could handle before falling 85-78.
In his senior year, Ivory was the conference’s preseason player of the year and led Valley to a second-place finish in the SWAC while averaging a career-best 21.8 points per game and shooing better than 58 percent in the first year of the three-point line in college basketball. He led the SWAC and was fourth in the country with 109 made threes.
He earned first-team All-SWAC, SWAC Player of the Year, and Black College All-American accolades, and is still ranked among Mississippi Valley State’s career leaders in points, steals, assists, minutes, and games played.
Ivory, who graduated from MVSU in 1988, was drafted by the Wyoming Wildcatters of the CBA while having other professional tryouts with the Chicago Bulls and Harlem Globetrotters.
As a college coach, Ivory was a graduate assistant later an assistant coach for the women’s program as Jackson State (1991-98), where he earned his Master’s degree and combined to win three SWAC regular season or tournament titles.
Ivory then returned to his alma mater under his college coach Lafayette Stribling as an assistant coach for four years (1998-2002) before his first stint at UAPB as an assistant coach (2002-06). Following one year as an assistant coach at Grambling (2006-07), and again at Mississippi Valley State (2007-08), where the Delta Devils won the SWAC Tournament championship, Ivory became head coach of the Golden Lions and will enter his 12th season as head coach in November. He led the Golden Lions to the 2010 SWAC Tournament Championship and a win over Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before Ivory’s full circle moment, as he led the Golden Lions against Duke as head coach.