Larger Than Life
Chuck White was unlike any basketball coach in Alaska history.
He set the standard for winning during his 45 seasons at the high school level and broke records for wins (921), state titles (18) and conference championships (23).
White also left an indelible mark on the national stage, with his .802 winning percentage ranking top-10 all-time and his career wins ranking in the top-30.
He was a polarizing personality who seemed larger than life.
Whether you loved him or hated him, White kept hoops relevant in Alaska. He was front-page news. His signature up-tempo style at both East High and West High in Anchorage ran opponents ragged and struck fear in opposing coaches.
His exciting brand of ball took the state by storm as his teams became a breeding ground for the college ranks. White produced household names Trajan Langdon, Muff Butler and Tony Reed – the holy trinity of T-bird basketball.
He helped Alaska hoops receive unprecedented exposure in the early 1990s with East becoming was the first Alaska team to be nationally ranked in 1993 and the first Alaska team to win the Great Alaska High School Classic in 1992.
He won his first state title in 1972 and his last state title in 2010. In between he posted twenty-nine 20-win seasons. Twice he won 28 games in a season. Only once did he have a losing season.
White had more than a dozen players win Alaska player-of-the-year honors, including Langdon, one of only three Alaskans to play in the NBA.
A 6-foot-4 man with broad shoulders and an easy smile, he came to Alaska in 1965 after an all-star career at the University of Idaho. He was drafted by the NBA (San Francisco Warriors), NFL (San Francisco 49ers) and MLB (Baltimore Orioles).
But he found his niche in coaching.
In 2010, White left Alaska for the college ranks. He took a job as an assistant coach at Adams State College in Colorado, where he reunited with his former East point guard, Louis Wilson, and coached until 2015.
In 2019, he passed away at age 78, leaving behind a lasting legacy that extended beyond the basketball court. He impacted the lives of hundreds of young men and created a championship culture that raised Alaska hoops to an unprecedented level.
– Van Williams