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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.