Longtime basketball coach Buster Harvey dies

Longtime local college basketball coach Buster Harvey
Longtime local college basketball coach Buster Harvey (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Longtime college basketball coach Buster Harvey passed away Saturday.

Harvey was an assistant and then head coach at JU, where he coached 22 games after taking over early in the 1996-97 season. He also coached at FCCJ, Edward Waters College and St. John’s River Community College before that school shut down the program.

Former Jacksonville University forward Micah Ross said that Harvey, then an assistant at JU, was the only coach who wanted to give him a college scholarship.

“I just remember how he loved Jacksonville basketball and gave me a chance when no one else wanted me,” Ross said. Ross went on to start at JU and later play in the NFL, including with the Jaguars.

Current Paxon head coach Toby Frazier’s first coaching job was as an assistant at Edward Waters under Harvey.

“Buster was genuine, a true player’s coach,” Frazier said. “He was able to relate and that’s why his players played so hard for him. He was tough, but he made sure his guys knew he loved them. I learned so much from him that year I was on his staff. But the main thing was making sure my players knew I would do anything for them.”

Willie Sanders also played for Harvey at St. Johns River Community College from 2007-2009.

“Buster was an amazing man,” said Sanders. “The impact he had on my career was he gave me a second chance and life. He took time to understand who I was and where I wanted to go. He knew how to bring the best out of you after making mistakes. In life, everyone wants to be accepted once. I was accepted. He made you want to work hard and not let him down."

Harvey was 64 years old.

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