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In Memoriam

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Alden "Whitey" Burnham

Long-time administrator, coach, and friend of the College Alden H. "Whitey" Burnham passed away last November at the age of 85. Burnham spent 29 years as a member of the athletics' staff, arriving in 1960 as the coach for lacrosse and soccer, and the following year becoming the Big Green's first and only three-sport coach when he took over the wrestling program. He retired in 1989 as associate director of athletics for development and alumni affairs. A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Burnham was honored by Dartmouth as a Wearer of the Green in 1989.

Burnham Field, home of the men's and women's soccer teams, was dedicated in spring 2008 in honor of Burnham, as requested by lead donor Stan Smoyer '34. Smoyer's sons, David '63 and Bill '67, were both coached by Burnham.

On Dec. 20, 2008, a memorial service and celebration of Burnham's life was held on campus. Below are comments from the ceremony:


burnhamWhitey Burnham (Photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina '09)
"He wanted students to love sports, to keep their academic work as a first priority, and above all, to learn the lessons on the playing field and on wrestling mats that would guide their lives forever."
President James Wright


"As our coach, he treated us with respect, never belittling our efforts, rather, offering constructive criticism and encouragement. Happier, obviously, if we won, he was content if we played our hardest and smartest. Even when disappointed, he was never harsh or sarcastic. And when we were feeling low, he unfailingly would buoy us up with humor."
David Smoyer '63, comments read by Ed Heald

"I will be forever grateful to him for sharing over 47 years of himself, his ideas, his character and commitment to others, all of which has served my own philosophy ... during my career in college athletics."
Mike Slive '62, college football Southeastern Conference committee chair, comments read by Ed Heald

"I think a mark of his true genius that I will forever value the most was his ability to unlock the inner child in all of us. At the risk of stating the obvious to all of you who knew him, Whitey's playfulness was, still is, and always will be contagious."
Bill Wilson ’70



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Last Updated: 1/19/10