Norvella Goree Whitaker, DeSoto High School, Mansfield, LA

Norvella Goree Whitaker

DeSoto Parish Training School has one of the proudest traditions in high school athletics in the state of Louisiana and not just in sports for boys. The girls’ basketball teams under the coaching of Norvella Goree Whitaker, also set a standard of winning that is comparable to any school in the state,

            Coach Whitaker worked at DeSoto Parish Training School and DeSoto High School as a seventh grade Language Arts teacher and basketball coach from September 1954 to January 1970. Her teams won LIALO state championships in the AAA ranks in 1958, 1964 and 1965. They were LIALO AAA state runner-up in 1962, 1963 and 1966.

            She retired from Stanley High School in 1985 but some of her proudest moments were spent coaching basketball at DeSoto HI=ugh School and DeSoto Parish Training School. Her teams were the premier teams in the state during the 1960’s and the records will show, she was one of the winningest coaches during the era.

            A graduate of Grambling High and Grambling State University, she earned the master’s degree plus 30 hours at Prairie View A&M. Further study was completed at Tuskegee University, the University of Illinois and at Northwestern State University.

            She was a natural competitor with strong instincts for developing winning teams and instilling character and discipline in young women. Coach Whitaker was one of eight children born to Hosea and Birda Williams Goree of Lincoln Parish in Louisiana.

            She is the widow of Culbert Whitaker, II, a native of Holly, Louisiana, and the mother of Juan Hosea /Williams of the DeSoto High Class of 1978.

             The great coach and teacher were another great building block in the magnanimous winning tradition that is DeSoto Parish Training School. f