| 09/17/2012 07:16 AM
The Paine College community is mourning the loss of legendary former coach David Dupree who passed away Wednesday, September 12th. His life was celebrated during funeral services held at Tabernacle Baptist church this morning with hundreds of Coach Dupree’s former students, Paine Alums and friends in attendance.
“Coach Dupree was responsible for reviving the Track and Field and Cross County programs at Paine College in 1985,” said Coach Willie Adams who was mentored by Coach Dupree. “He said Coaching was hard work and sacrifice, you had to be dedicated and have a love for helping the students and players to reach their goals,” commented Coach Adams who serves as Head Coach for the Paine College Lady Lions basketball team.
“Coach Dupree is truly an icon and legend of the greatest proportion,” said Paine Historian Mallory Millender. “It would be virtually impossible to calculate the positive impact that he had on Augusta and Paine College through his coaching and mentoring of countless number of students, through his impact on the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, through his church and family.
“I remember when he came to Augusta to join the staff at Lucy Laney High School and married a young and attractive teacher and basketball coach named Vivian Key. Their marriage was then, and will always remain, exemplary,” recounted Dr. Roscoe Williams, former Paine College Administrator and revered athlete who played for Coach Dupree at Lucy Craft Laney High School during his junior and senior year.
“Coach Dupree was responsible for me getting onto the basketball team at Laney during my junior year,” said Williams. It was upon his recommendation that the late John M. Tutt (the head basketball coach at Laney at that time) gave me a chance (late in the season) to prove myself. As fate would have it, I made a basket at the buzzer to win the game for Laney vs. Mather Academy. This occurred a mere three days after joining the team. That was the last basket made in the old Bethlehem Center Gymnasium, a site where Paine played all of its games up until Paine College’s Carter Gymnasium was completed in 1952.” Of note, Williams averaged 32 points per game when he played for Paine.
“Coach Dupree was an exemplary coach and a scholar,” said Dr. George Bradley, President of Paine College. Among many of the players he coached, many of them went on to excel in numerous professions. Some of them became pharmacists, educators, dentists, while others went on to become stellar athletes in the NFL and other major sports. Coach Dupree was just as proud of his athletes who graduated valedictorian and of those who excelled on the playing field and the court,” said Bradley.
Coach Dupree earned a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina; a Master of Arts from New York University, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Paine College in 2001. He pursued additional studies at Benedict College and Wayne State University. Coach Dupree began his career as a biology teacher and a basketball and football coach at Bell Street High School in Clinton, South Carolina, and one year later, he was offered a job as biology teacher and head coach in Augusta at A. R. Johnson High School and eventually became head football coach at Lucy Laney High School.
Under Coach Dupree’s leadership, both Lucy Laney and Bell Street High Schools earned state championships, and Lucy Laney led the nation in football scoring in 1966 with an average of 54.5 points per game. He also coached an outstanding track team from 1949 to 1984 and retired from the public school system after spending 35 years as a teacher and coach.
“It does not get any better than Coach Dupree and for this reason he is in the Georgia Hall of Fame,” said Millender. “His track team once went twelve years without losing a Meet. We were lucky to have had Coach Dupree at Paine College leading our track and cross-country program.”
Coach Dupree’s legacy will live on in the many lives that he touched.