Tournament History


A Look Through the Years

  About the MEAC Basketball Tournament


The 2016 MEAC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT marks the fourth straight year that the MEAC Tournament has been played in Norfolk, Virginia, at the Norfolk Scope Arena. The city of Norfolk was previously host to the MEAC family in 1991 to 1993, and again in 1997.


The first two MEAC Basketball Tournaments (1973 and 1974) were held in Durham, N.C., at the Cameron Indoor Stadium on the campus of Duke University, Greensboro, N.C., has held for the longest tenure as tournament host, housing the annual event at the Greensboro Coliseum from 1987 to 1990.


Several other cities and states have housed the MEAC Basketball Tournament over the years, including Baltimore, Md. (1974, 1975, 1994, 1995); Philadelphia, Pa. (1985, 1986); Norfolk, Va. (1991-1993, 1997); Tallahassee, Fla. (1996); Richmond, Va. (1998-2005); Raleigh, N.C. (2006-2008), and Winston-Salem, N.C. (1980-82, 2009-2012).

Competition over the Years


North Carolina A & T State Men dominated the MEAC Basketball Tournament the first 17 years, winning titles from 1972 to 1988, including a run of seven straight tournament titles from 1982 to 1988 under legendary coach Don Corbett. The Aggies won two more titles in 1994 and 1995 and were victories in 2013 tournament finale to push their conference lead to 16 titles.


N.C. A & T State’s head coach Cy Alexander, who returned to the MEAC in the same year, earned the
Outstanding Tournament Coach award in 2013.


Following the Aggies reign through the ‘70s and ‘80s, the conference witnessed several different tournament champions. The 1990s belonged to Coppin State, who won three titles (1990, 1993 and 1997) and earned seven No. 1 seeds. The animated former head coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell has also won six Coach of the Year honors (tying Corbett) and four tournament Outstanding Coach awards.


In 2008, Mitchell guided his Eagles to their fourth tournament title with a 62-60 win over Morgan State. The No. 7 seed Eagles earned their way to the finals after getting by Howard in the first round, Norfolk State in the quarterfinals, Hampton in semifinals and Morgan State in the championship game.


From 1989 to 2003, South Carolina State men capture more titles than any other team. Led by Cy Alexander, the Bulldogs won five tournament titles (1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2003) and earned the top seed going into the tournament six times. The Bulldogs also won three regular season titles during that stretch in 1989, 1996, and 2003.


The South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs captured three of the first four MEAC Tournament titles on the women’s side (1978 to 1983). They earned another title in 1986 and back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, for a total of six. Their dominance didn’t last long, as Howard quickly became the power program of the women’s tournament. Under the guidance of long-time Howard coach Sanya Tyler, the Lady Bison won nine tournament titles, including four straight from 1987 to 1990 and a three-peat from 1996 and 1998. Howard won another title in 2001 to bring its total to a conference-best 10 on the women’s side. In just 18 years, Hampton has won 12 MEAC Basketball Tournament titles, four for the men (2001, 2002, 2006, 2011) and seven for the women (2000, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2013 and 2014). Savannah State won its first-ever MEAC Women’s Basketball title (2015) by defeating Maryland Eastern Shore in the championship game.  


The 1999 season was truly impressive and intriguing for the MEAC Tournament. In the women’s final, Florida A & M center Teresa Jenkins recorded a triple-double (24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks), while the FAMU men’s team won the MEAC title as a No. 7 seed. The Rattlers had to win four games in five days, eventually defeating No. 1 seeded South Carolina State, 64-61, to clinch the tournament title.


There have certainly been a few dynasties in the MEAC through the years. And with dominant teams, comes dominant players and performances.


Who could ever forget the Aggies’ James Sparrow, who earned two tournament Outstanding Performer honors, including a remarkable performance in 1978 when he posted 21 points and 13 rebounds in the title game against Morgan State. Howard’s Larry Spriggs won three consecutive MVP awards (1978 to 1981). Spriggs averaged over 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds each year in tournament games. The Aggies’ Eric Boyd also won three outstanding performer awards.


Coppin State’s Tywain McKee capped one of the most brilliant individual performances in tournament
history, scoring on a five-foot Floater with three seconds remaining, to clinch the 2008 title. The Eagles, also a No. 7 seed, were the second team in tournament history to earn the title winning four games in five days and eventually knocking off the No. 1 seed Morgan State.


Karen Wilkins (1989 and 1990) and Alisha Hill (1997 and 1998) of Howard ae the only two women to win back-to-back MVP awards in the MEAC tournament.*  


North Carolina Central’s men’s team earned the first-ever Division I Tournament title with a 71-62 win over Morgan State in 2014, but were stunned in the conference semifinals a year later by Delaware State. Hampton held off Delaware State to win the 2015 tournament crown.





MEAC Tournament History for Men's & Women's Basketball
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