ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — No one coached high school basketball in Alaska better than Chuck White during his 45 years. He still holds the records for wins (921), state titles (18) and conference championships (23), according to the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Those ratings earned him a place in the Hall of Fame in 2011.
White died Nov. 25, 2019, in his native Colorado, but those whose lives White touched don’t have to travel there to be with him. There is a headstone with White’s name and photo on it at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.
“It’s an amazing thing for everyone because he meant so much to so many people,” Trajan Langdon said.
Langdon won three state titles as White’s player at East Anchorage High School, three of 14 White captured during his career with the Thunderbirds. He won four more championships at West Anchorage High School.
Needless to say, White meant a lot to Langdon and many other former basketball players.
“I was blessed with a strong family dynamic, two parents,” Langdon said. “But that was not the case for all his players. I think he was a father figure to a lot of people.
Snow covers the headstone in Anchorage Cemetery, but it’s not White’s final resting place. His family cremated his remains.
“His ball players were all asking, ‘Where is the coach lying?’ And I said, well, he really isn’t,” White’s sister Carol said.
Carol White said the grave belonged to family friends who decided to be buried in another part of the cemetery. White said they decided to donate the site to give former players a place to congregate and remember their former coach.
“Chuck never qualified his players’ children. They were his children,” White said. “Once you made the East basketball team, you became part of the East family.”
Even in death, White’s memory plays an important role in the lives of his players.
“He reached so many people in so many different ways,” Langdon said. “It impacted the lives of so many people.”
Langdon and others now have another place where they can share their memories. Carol White said plans are underway to hold a ceremony at the grave, possibly later this year. Efforts are also underway to try and rename White’s old school gymnasium.
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