Just when it appeared George Houston was a safe distance from the limelight — it’s been a decade-plus since he last coached at Juneau-Douglas High School — the retired hoops coach had to go and get elected into two different hall of fames.
On Saturday, Houston was formally inducted into the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame at the AABC Awards Show at Dimond High School in Anchorage.
It’s just the second AABC Hall of Fame induction class. Last year, WNBA forward Jessica Moore (Colony High School) and former Point Hope coach Rex Rock Sr. were selected as the inaugural class.
This year, Houston joined former NBA guard Trajan Langdon (East High School) in the hall. Currently, the AABC Hall of Fame admits one coach and one player each year.
“We believe this distinction should be very special and hard to come by,” AABC president David Porter wrote in a 2015 online post about the hall of fame.
Porter said he received an abundance of nominations this year for Houston, who became the clear favorite for the coaching spot.
“It wasn’t like it was between him and several other coaches,” he said.
When the head coaching position finally opened up in 1992 at Juneau-Douglas High School, Houston was plenty prepared for the position after serving 18 as an assistant. He would go 279-85 record over the next 14 seasons as head coach. Only once in Houston’s tenure as a head coach did his team have a losing season — winning 11 Region V and two state championships along the way. Houston was named Alaska’s “Coach of the Year” three times and his teams finished out of the top-five in the state once.
“To me, the success we had with the program was because of the kids we had here,” Houston told the Empire in an interview Wednesday.
The Alaska Association of School Activities (ASAA) also selected Houston as part of their 2017 hall of fame class.
“For many Southeast Alaska basketball coaches, fans and players, Coach George Houston is a true legend,” an April 1 press release stated about the coach. “His name is synonymous with outstanding performance, both on and off the court.”
Houston joins four fellow coaches, four athletes and one administrator in the 2017 class. The ASAA Hall of Fame ceremony is May 7 at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.