Players, fans of Chuck White have another place to honor his memory
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - No one coached high school basketball in Alaska better than Chuck White during his 45 years. He still owns the records for wins (921), state titles (18) and conference championships (23), according to the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Those marks earned him a spot 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’s a headstone with White’s name and picture on it at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.
“It’s something that’s incredible for everybody because he’s meant so much to so many people,” Trajan Langdon said.
Langdon won three state titles as a player for White at East Anchorage High School, three of 14 White captured during his career with the Thunderbirds. He earned 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 fortunate that I had a strong family dynamic, two parents,” Langdon said. “But that wasn’t the case for all of his players. I think he was a father figure for a lot of people.”
Snow covers the headstone at the Anchorage cemetery, but it is not White’s final resting place. His family cremated his remains.
“His ballplayers were all asking, ‘Where’s coach laid to rest?’ And I said, well, he really isn’t,” said White’s sister, Carol.
Carol White said the gravesite 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 where they can gather, and remember their former coach.
“Chuck never referred to the kids as his players. They were his kids,” White said. “Once you were on the East basketball team, you became a member of the East family.”
Even in death, White’s memory plays an important part in the lives of his players.
“He reached so many people in so many different ways,” Langdon said. “It’s made an impact on so many people’s lives.”
Langdon and others now have another place where they can share their memories. Carol White said plans are being made to have a ceremony at the gravesite, possibly later this year. Efforts are also underway to try and rename the gym at White’s old school.
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