By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Friends of and former players for the late Don Christie will have a chance to share memories with his family and each other on Saturday, June 1 at Concord University.
A memorial service that will double as a reunion of sorts will be held at 3 p.m. in the Carter Center gym, where Christie coached the Concord men’s basketball team to state college championship runs in 1978-79 and 1988-89.
Christie died on April 13 at the age of 83. In addition to being Concord’s head coach for 11 years, he spent 17 years as head coach at Salem College. He also taught mathematics and mentored students at both institutions.
He was athletics director at Concord until his retirement in 1998, and previously had served as an assistant director of admissions for 12 years.
After retirement, he helped Steve Cox, his former assistant and successor, for several years as a volunteer assistant coach.
His 387 basketball coaching wins ranks third in the history of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The memorial service was scheduled to provide his family, colleagues and friends an opportunity to schedule a trip to Athens.
Cox said on Monday that Christie’s wife Jean “in particular wanted it to be more of a celebration of his life than a mourning.”
He said, “I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re coming.”
Cox said that Jean Christie and the couple’s two surviving daughters plan to be there, as well as Don Christie’s brother Dave and Dave’s son Don Christie, who played for his uncle by the same name and was co-captain of the 1989 team.
Others who have indicated they plan to attend include a number of Concord graduates; Salem alumnus Archie Talley, the all-time leading scorer in WVIAC basketball history; WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey, who played basketball for Christie at Salem; and former Salem coach Ed Pastilong, who went on to be athletics director at WVU.
Cox said, “He just touched a lot of people, he really did. He’s one of those unusual coaching legends, so to speak. He worked basically at two schools, and is in two halls of fame. He was a gentleman and an educator.”
“He probably made fewer enemies than anyone in coaching that I know,” Cox said. “It’s amazing how many people felt close to him.”
Charles Mathena and Memorial Funeral Directory in Princeton are helping serve the family with the memorial gathering.
— Contact Tom Bone at