ITTA BENA, Miss. – Mississippi Valley State University alumni and program legend George Ivory has been announced as the 12th Head Men’s Basketball Coach in the school’s history on March 14, 2022.
Born on August 7, 1965, he previously served as Head Coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where he led the Golden Lions for 13 seasons. Prior to UAPB, Ivory was an assistant at Mississippi Valley where he graduated from in 1988.
George Ivory grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, where he attended Murrah High School, before moving onto MVSU. He was a star for the Delta Devils as he was selected as Freshman of the Year, First Team All-SWAC, SWAC Tournament MVP, and Player of the Year during his four-year playing career. A basketball legend in The Delta, he remains as the program’s top assister and stealer on top of minutes played.
“Coach Ivory brings a wealth of knowledge to our basketball program as our 12th men’s basketball coach,” said Dr. Jerryl Briggs, MVSU president. We are excited about what he will bring to our program as an alum who has experienced great success during his time as a coach in the SWAC,” he added.
Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Ivory tried out for the Chicago Bulls, Harlem Globetrotters, and Illinois Express before being drafted by the Wyoming Wildcatters of the CBA.
He later went back to school where he earned his master’s degree from Jackson State University in 1996 while working as a graduate assistant with the women’s team for three years before becoming the full-time assistant from 1991 to 1998 under head coach Andrew Pennington.
While at JSU, George Ivory won two SWAC Tournaments, a regular-season championship and made an NCAA appearance. In the fall of ’98, Ivory accepted a similar position with Mississippi Valley State University as men’s assistant coach under then head coach Lafayette Stribling, where they became a perennial title contender.
Ivory crossed into the Natural State to become an assistant coach at Pine Bluff in the fall of 2002 under then head coach Van Holt. Holt and staff led the Golden Lions to the finals of the SWAC Tournament in 2005–06.
In 2006–07, Ivory headed to Grambling State University under then Head Coach Larry Wright before returning to Valley in 2007–08 as an assistant coach under then head coach James Green, where they went on to win the SWAC Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
On March 27, 2008, Ivory was named the head coach of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Prior to the start of his first season the Golden Lions were picked to finish ninth in the SWAC’s preseason poll, but UAPB went on to finish in 4th place during his inaugural campaign while claiming the team’s first winning record as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The 2009–10 basketball season brought about unprecedented success for the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball team. After starting the year 0-11, the Golden Lions finished the season with a remarkable run all the way to the NCAA tournament. The Golden Lions went 18-5 over the course of their last 23 games as they concluded the season with an 18-16 overall record. UAPB won the 2010 SWAC Basketball Tournament Championship, marking the schools’ first title in over four decades (1967). Arkansas-Pine Bluff followed their undefeated SWAC tourney run with a victory over the Winthrop Eagles in the NCAA Opening Round game, snapping a 17-year conference losing streak in the NCAA tournament.
The Golden Lions faced the eventual NCAA National Champion Duke Blue Devils in the first round of the tournament. Arkansas-Pine Bluff was the only Division I institution from the state of Arkansas to qualify for the NCAA tournament that year and for his teams outstanding accomplishments on the court, Ivory was named the 2010 HSRN National Coach of the Year, becoming the first coach from Arkansas-Pine Bluff to be awarded such honors.