Booker dies at 65; led Rattlers to first MEAC title
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Former Florida A&M basketball coach Willie Booker, who had just started a new job as athletic director at Palm Beach Community College, has died. He was 65.
Booker was found dead in his Orlando home late Monday or early Tuesday, said Florida A&M sports publicist Alvin Hollins.
"We have truly lost a historic member of our university, especially our basketball program," Florida A&M president James Ammons said Wednesday. "He made an indelible mark on our basketball program and in addition to that he was an outstanding person."
Booker led the Rattlers to their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title in 1991 and had a 137-125 record from 1984-1993. His teams made the finals of the MEAC tournament four times between 1988 and 1992.
"On the surface, coach Booker was a low-key guy, a calm demeanor on the sideline," Hollins said Wednesday. "When things seemed to be going crazy he always seemed to be at peace and in control."
Booker was a multisport star at Rochelle High School in Lakeland, where he graduated in 1959. A basketball star at the former Gibbs Junior College in St. Petersburg, Booker completed his college career at New Mexico State, where he played from 1961 to 1963.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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