By Greg Klein THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
---- — When the Cooperstown Boys Holiday Tournament was renamed the Dick White Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament in 1997 it was just two months after White's death.
"For the community, to name the tournament after him was just a natural thing to do," said Don Howard, retired CCS coach who was White's assistant and junior varsity coach for many of White's 27 years of varsity coaching. "Nobody ever had his record. Nobody ever was as dedicated."
Howard said that White saw sports as a way to reach kids.
"He had real energy for kids. He had real empathy for kids," Howard said.
White was also a brilliant strategist, Howard said. "He was outstanding as a strategist," he said. "He was a great game manager. He made more decisions during games, many difficult ones, to win games than anyone I knew.
"His dedication made him successful," Howard continued. "Many times he wouldn't sleep after games because he'd be playing things over in his mind."
White also started the summer basketball camp program and ran it for nearly 20 years.
"It was a great time to coach," Howard said. "We had great kids and it was fun for many, many years."
White had a varsity basketball record of 410-155 from 1969 to 1996. His 1987 team made the NYPHSAA Final Four losing to Rochester Wilson at the Broome County Arena. He won 14 Center State Conference titles and was awarded the Patrick C. Fetterman Award in 2000.
He taught one year longer than he coached and retired in 1997. He died 10 years later, in October of 2007, of prostate cancer. The Cooperstown Boys Holiday Tournament was renamed in his honor that year.
"He was definitely my mentor," Howard said. "The thing is, he wasn't supposed to die that young. It was tough for everybody who was close to him."