A Giant of a Man - Coach Stan White


Stanford White

Coach Stan White, who himself starred for both Oklahoma City Douglass High School and Langston University, coached the former for 27 seasons, leading the Trojans to the state football playoffs 14 consecutive times, two state title games, and a state championship.

 

Life is so busy and passing so quickly. I found out this week when in OKC that a dear friend of mine and one of the greatest men I have ever met, Douglass Trojan High School Oklahoma Hall of Fame football coach Stanford White, passed away a month ago. I knew he had been fighting cancer and a serious heart ailment with the same courage he faced everything in his long and storied life and career. So many people have their own stories of his selfless contributions to their life, whether the football team who won the state championship in 1976, the scared white kids bused to mostly-black Douglass whom he helped, or the countless young African Americans whom he showed what true manhood was, as opposed to the many false substitutes produced by our society.


For me, it was the scores of hours he gave of his time to me, for many years, as I labored on our OKLAHOMANS books. He taught me not just the black history but THE history of all the people of OKC and beyond. He didn’t just tell me his opinions, he introduced me to the liitle-known, the unknown, and the legendary in OKC’s black community. He took me to their homes, got the conversations going, then sometimes stayed and sometimes quietly excused himself. I can’t even begin to calculate all the great stories in OKLAHOMANS 2 that are there only because of Stan White, that I would never have known anything of…


The unforgettable stories of his own high school coach, the famed Moses “PiYi” Miller, who first led Douglass to greatness. What a blessing to laugh with Coach Stan about PiYi’s hilarious, roughhewn antics, then marvel with him at his dauntless feats…

Stan and Rae White

 

The brave doctors, dentists, and pharmacists of Medi-Phar going to OU President George Lynn Cross and OU football coach Bud Wilkinson in the 1950s and saying: “Just give Prentice Gautt a chance. He is the Oklahoma player of the year, but we will pay for his schooling his freshman year. If he makes the team, you pay for it from there.” He made it, and then some. Not only did he become an OU great and an NFL store, he became Assistant Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. And the nation’s finest student athlete academic center possesses his name on the Sooner campus…


Dr. Frank Cox facing down the rabble rousing black Muslim “Theodore GX” in the 1960s, warning him that “This is MY town and you better not make trouble in it”…


Coach Stan’s former Douglas assistant football coach Jake Diggs grabbing a violent, non-student troublemaker on the campus of U. S. Grant High School during the busing turmoil of the 1970s, body slamming him, and holding him for the police”…


Countless times in countless ways he gently but wisely pointed me in the right direction, introduced me to the right person, encouraged me along the way in my long labors. Who knows how many people will know the deeds and feats of black Oklahoma after reading OK 2 because of the influence of Coach Stan that would not otherwise have. He was far too big a man for his influence to end with his mortal life.


In 2009, Douglass named its football field for Coach Stan White. He quashed a popular move to rename the entire stadium for him and insisted that it remain named in honor of his own Douglass football coach, Moses F. Miller. Then-Douglass coach Willis Alexander played for White. "He always taught us things more than football,” Alexander recalled. "Football is just a tool that helps you get ready for life. He was my father figure."

 

I know that a lot of people who knew him a lot longer than the 15 years I did really miss him. I miss him dearly. His loss leaves a gaping hole in my heart.


The last time we talked, not feeling physically well, he assured me that he was trustfully resting in Christ and what He had done for him. I was choked up and all I could think to say was, “I love you, coach.” I am so glad I did.


And now he and his beloved Rae are united again, in a land where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”


“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’

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