Two long-time and legendary coaches at Mississippi Valley State University will see their names forever etched in hardwood on Saturday, February 11, 2017.
Coach Lafayette Stribling and Coach Jessie Harris will receive the honor of having the court located in the R.W. Harrison Complex named after them.
The celebration will take place prior to the Devilettes and Devils home game against Alcorn State University. The Stribling-Harris Court will formerly be unveiled prior to the women’s game with a brief ceremony at courtside beginning at 1 p.m.
Harris will offer remarks during halftime of the women’s contest and Stribling will likewise offer comments during halftime of the men’s game.
“Having your name embossed on a gym floor or an athletic field where you built championship programs is one of the greatest honors for a coach. Coach Stribling and Coach Harris are deserving of this honor for their work and service here at Mississippi Valley State University,” said Dianthia Ford-Kee, Director of Athletics at MVSU.
Stribling is the winningest men’s basketball coach in the school’s history, with a 315-307 record and three NCAA tournament appearances. One of the most memorable NCAA tournament appearances under Stribling came against the Duke Blue Devils in 1986 when the team led the top-ranked perennial basketball power house by three points at halftime. MVSU ultimately fell to the Blue Devils 85-78 in the first round. The Delta Devils also lost to Ohio State in 1992 and Georgetown in 1996 in their other tournament appearances under Stribling.
Stribling was an inductee of the Mississippi Coaches’ Hall of Fame in 1989, 2006 SWAC Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2010 inductee into the MVSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He was named SWAC Coach of the Year in 1992.
Harris began his coaching career at the Valley in 1975 when he was hired by Andrew Jackson as an assistant men’s basketball coach. During his tenure as an assistant for the men’s program, the women’s basketball program was reinstated and a head coach was needed.
Harris was named the head coach of the women’s team in 1975. In his 27 years on the sideline, the Devilettes won 380 games. Coach Harris holds the record for most wins in for women’s basketball at MVSU.
It was under Harris’ leadership that the Devilettes won three Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships (1988, 1989 and 1993). During his tenure as the head women’s basketball program, Harris won 28 games in a single season, a record that still stands today for all Mississippi Valley sports. Harris also served as the head women’s volleyball coach from 1989-2002.
Harris is a member of the MVSU Alumni Hall of Fame, MVSU Athletic Hall of Fame, and SWAC Hall of Fame. He was selected Black College Coach of the Year in 1989 (Basketball) and SWAC Coach of the Year (basketball) 1982, 1987 and 1988.
Courtesy: MVSU Athletics