SWAC Alumni Association to Honor League Stalwarts
Betty Austin, former athletic director and volleyball coach of Alabama A&M University; Davis Weathersby, former head football coach of Mississippi Valley State University, Jay Roberson, former Alabama A&M University quarterback and SWAC administrator and Dr. Edward B Evans, former president of Prairie View A&M University, will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards. Evans will be honored posthumously.
Carl Whimper, former Sports Information Director at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and current color analyst for Golden Lions athletic teams’ radio broadcast, will receive the Charles “Chuck” Prophet Memorial Wagon Master Award, which is presented to an individual from a SWAC institution for dedicated and meritorious service to his school and/or the conference for an extended period.
Former Alcorn State women’s basketball coach and SWAC Hall of Famer Shirley Walker is the guest of honor for the Roast. The evening’s activities get underway at 6 p.m. with the Legends Reception; awards presentation, dinner and the roast follow at 7. Tickets are $60 each and can be purchased by contacting Alumni Association president Roscoe Nance at 703-481-0084 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Alvin Moore at 205-222-1044 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Austin, a 1974 Alabama A&M graduate and a native of Huntsville, had a stellar career as a volleyball coach at her alma mater. She completed her 30-year career with a 603-235 record, and her teams won six consecutive SWAC titles from 2000-2005 and 11 SIAC championships when the Lady Bulldogs competed at the NCAA Division II level. In her role as director of athletics, Austin strengthened the athletic program’s systems and processes, including filing and meeting all NCAA regulations and reporting guidelines. She increased revenue generation for the athletic programs and implemented a plan to increase use of the Louis Crews Stadium to include special group nights at each of the home football games. Austin also served as head women’s basketball coach during the 1977-78 and 1981-82 seasons.
Weathersby is a 2003 SWAC Hall of Fame inductee. As head football coach and director of athletics at Mississippi Valley State, he was responsible for moving the Delta Devils’ athletics program from NCAA Division II and NAIA to NCAA Division I. The highlight of his coaching career came in 1975 when he guided the Delta Devils to a second place finish and was named SWAC Coach of the Year.
Roberson is a native of Birmingham, where he is a member of the City Council and Associate Director of Athletics at Samford University. He transferred to Alabama A&M from Middle Tennessee State in 1992 and was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs at quarterback. He was an All-SIAC in 1992 and a member of the 1993 SIAC All-Academic team. Roberson was Assistant Commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference from 2002-05. In that role, he coordinated the SWAC Championship football Game and the SWAC Basketball Tournament. He also oversaw television sponsorships and marketing and was instrumental in coordinating an historic agreement with ESPN to televise SWAC football and basketball games nationally.
Dr. Evans was called to Prairie View to establish a Department of Veterinary Medicine two weeks after becoming one of the first black graduates of Iowa State in 1918. During his early years at Prairie View, Dr. Evans became one of the founders of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and at various times served in every major administration position at the College. Prior to being elevated to the presidency at Prairie View in 1946, he was called to Tuskegee Institute to establish a School of Veterinary Medicine.
Whimper, a native of Altheimer, Ark., has worked for only one employer – the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Except for the last five years, his tenure at UAPB has centered on sports information, public relations and marketing. In 2007, Whimper’s duties shifted from director of media relations for athletics to assistant director of student recruitment in the Office of Recruitment and he is color analyst on UAPB’s athletic teams’ radio broadcasts. . Whimper covered UAPB athletics throughout his collegiate years while serving as a sports editor for the school’s newspaper – the Arkansawyer. In his senior year at UAPB, he began working part-time in the public relations office and created the school’s first sports information office in 1974. Shortly after graduating in 1975, he was named assistant director of public relations with primary responsibility for sports information.
The SWAC Alumni Association, a non-profit 501c3 organization, was founded in Birmingham, Ala., in 1999 during the inaugural SWAC Championship Football Game out of concern that the conference’s legacy of athletic excellence was being forgotten. Its goal is to support conference activities, honor SWAC’s tradition of athletic excellence and preserve its heritage as one of the premier conferences in the nation. Former athletes who competed in any sport at SWAC member institutions are eligible for membership, as are former coaches in all sports, athletic trainers, athletic administrators, game officials, employees of the conference office and supporters of SWAC athletics.