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Chuck White was unlike any basketball coach in Alaska’s history.
Never mind the record 921 games he won and 18 state championships he captured in 45 years of coaching at the high school level, he had a polarizing personality that made him larger than life.
Whether you loved him or hated him, White kept hoops relevant in The Last Frontier. He was front-page news. His signature up-tempo style at both East High and West High in Anchorage ran opponents ragged and struck such fear that his teams often won games before ever even taking the court. His exciting brand of ball took the entire state by storm as his program became a breeding ground for the college ranks.
White produced household names like Trajan Langdon, Muff Butler, Tony Reed, Andre Laws, Ramon Harris and Ma’o Tosi, and dozens more all-state players who are now in business, law and medicine.
He set a new standard for winning and helped Alaska receive unprecedented exposure in the early 1990s when his East teams were nationally ranked. His teams routinely backed it up by beating Lower 48 competition, like the time his T-birds bagged Alaska’s lone championship in the Great Alaska High School Classic.
In Alaska, his teams were nearly unbeatable. He racked up an incredible .802 winning percentage (921–228) and won 20 games or more in 29 seasons.
He twice won 28 games in a season. White, a 6-foot-4 man with broad shoulders and an easy smile, was an all-star athlete during his playing days at the University of Idaho.
He briefly played minor-league baseball and was drafted to play professional basketball and football.
But he found his niche in coaching.
In 2010, the 68-year-old coach left Alaska to accept an assistant’s position at Adams State College in Colorado where he reunited with his former point guard, Louis Wilson, now the head coach.
– Van Williams
photo courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.