“It was kind of unreal to hear,” Toye said. “Perry Wallace made such a big impact on Vanderbilt and, really, college basketball in general.
In the weeks following his family’s establishment of the inaugural Perry E. Wallace Jr. Basketball Scholarship, David Williams II, Vanderbilt University’s vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director, knew he had a decision to make.
Williams needed to nominate a Vanderbilt men’s basketball player to be the first recipient of the Perry Wallace scholarship for the 2018-19 season. Williams and his family – his wife, Gail, and their four children, Nicholas, Samantha, David II and Erika – conferred and decided the recipient should represent the values for which Wallace, who passed away in December 2017, stood during his trailblazing career at Vanderbilt.
The Williams family needed little deliberation before ultimately settling on a name: Joe Toye.
“We went back to the family and voted,” Williams said. “The vote was 6-0 for Joe.”
Toye, an economics major at Vanderbilt, entered this fall as the lone senior on the Commodores’ roster under third-year head coach Bryce Drew. Like most within the Vanderbilt basketball family, Toye was plenty familiar with the legacy of Wallace, who in 1967 became the Southeastern Conference’s first black basketball player to participate in a varsity game. Wallace later became an All-SEC player for the Commodores, graduated in 1970 with a bachelor of engineering and went on to become a law professor at American University.