ASAA executive director Strickland wins Trajan Langdon Award

May 5, 2021

Billy Strickland

In a year defined by hardship, the worst brought out the best in Billy Strickland.

The Alaska School Activities Association executive director was selected by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as the winner of the 2021 Trajan Langdon Award.

The award honors leadership, sportsmanship and inspiration.

Strickland has had to make many difficult and impactful decisions for Alaska high school student-athletes during a year defined by COVID.

According to his nomination, Strickland “has worked tirelessly to put kids in a position to participate with safety at its utmost importance, yet finding a way to put kids back on the court or field!

“He does this ‘with a smile on his face and a song in his heart’ knowing how important sports are to the individual athlete and how important mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is to all Alaska.”

Other finalists for the award included the lead pack of skiers from the Tour of Anchorage cross-country ski race and the leadership group at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The frontrunners in the men’s Tour of Anchorage 50-K race, including eventual winner Tyler Kornfield, got held up by a moose on the Coastal Trail. Each skier scooted past it one-by-one as the entire group waited until everyone was safety beyond the moose before racing resumed.

An example of “super-organic sportsmanship.”

At UAA, leaders were faced with the reality of seeing their college programs eliminated, so they stepped up and went to work.

Coach Sparky Anderson helped save UAA alpine skiing with nonstop effort while Sophie Marie Boggasch (gymnastics coach) and Kathie Bethard (hockey booster club organizer) continue their efforts to save those programs.

Trajan Langdon Award Winners
2021: Billy Strickland
2020: Israel Hale
2019: Andy Beardsely and Larsen Klingel (co-winners)
2018: DaJonee Hale
2017: Damen Bell-Holter
2016: Laci Effenberger
2015: Aliy Zirkle
2014: Marko Cheseto
2013: Paul Tandy
2012: Chugiak High School football team