Larger Than Life
Chuck White was unlike any basketball coach in Alaska’s history.
Never mind the record 921 games he won and the 18 state championships he captured in 45 years of high school coaching. 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 even taking the court. His exciting brand of ball took the 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 Mao Tosi, and dozens more all-state players who now are businessmen, lawyers and doctors.
He set a standard for winning and helped Alaska receive unprecedented exposure in the early 1990s, when his East teams were nationally ranked. His teams routinely beat 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 .802 winning percentage (921–228) and won 20 games or more in 29 seasons. Twice he 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, at age 68, White left Alaska for an assistant coach position at Adams State College in Colorado. There he reunited with one of his former point guards, head coach Louis Wilson, and the pair coached the Grizzlies together until 2015.
– Van Williams