Rebel Hoops Legend Denver Brackeen Passes Away

May 31, 2006

OXFORD, Miss. - Funeral services were held Wednesday for Ole Miss basketball great Denver Brackeen, who passed away Monday morning at his home in Union, Miss., at the age of 75.

A center from Hickory, Brackeen was the 1953 National Junior College Most Valuable Player and an All-America selection at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., where he scored 32.0 points per game his final year.

Brackeen transferred to Ole Miss prior to the 1953-54 campaign, and in just two seasons in the Red and Blue, compiled 1,040 career points, which ranks 26th in school history. His 24.8 career scoring average stands third-best on the Rebel chart, and his 12.1 rebounding clip is first all-time in Ole Miss history.

In 1955, Brackeen topped the SEC in scoring (27.2 ppg) in earning second team All-America and unanimous All-SEC honors. The Team Captain also received the UPI SEC Player of the Year and AP SEC Most Valuable Player awards, and his shot was chosen best in the conference by SEC players.

Brackeen was selected in the second round of the 1955 NBA Draft by the New York Knickerbockers, where he played until 1958. He later returned to East Central Community College to begin a 28-year career serving in various capacities including coach, guidance counselor, admissions director, dean of students and academic dean.

From 1955 to 1963, Brackeen directed the Warrior basketball program, accumulating a 137-52 record. His most successful season was his last at the helm, guiding the 1962-63 squad to a 22-3 mark and the state tournament semifinals.

Brackeen, who served 21 years in dean of students' administrative work, is recognized as the first dean of students in Mississippi public community colleges. He served on the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges until his death.

Brackeen was named East Central's Alumnus of the Year in 1982 and the College's physical education building was named for him and former coach Lucille Wood in 1988. He was also a member of the NJCAA Men's Basketball Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame. He was recognized as one of the SEC's Living Legends at the league's 2001 tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

In addition, Brackeen had a distinguished career in the Mississippi National Guard. He served as Mississippi's Adjutant General during Desert Storm and retired from military service with the rank of major general.

Members of the Decatur United Methodist Church, Brackeen and his wife Charlotte have two sons, Morgan, who resides in Union, and Charlie, who is deceased. Denver had four grandchildren, Jonathan, Sable, Dillon and Ashlee.

 

 

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