Clair Markey, a member of the 1957-58 Seattle University men's basketball team that reached the NCAA title game before moving on to success as a high school coach in Alaska, passed away June 20 in Peoria, Ariz., at the age of 76.
Markey moved to Washington from Nebraska at an early age and attended Seattle Prep, where he played for recent Seattle U Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Frank Ahern. He played for the Seattle U freshman basketball team in 1954-55 before joining the varsity for the 1955-56 campaign.
After graduation, Markey became coach of the freshman basketball team in 1960 and took over the varsity squad on an interim basis in the winter of 1963. With players such as Eddie Miles, John Tresvant, and Ernie Dunston, Markey posted a 7-2 record as interim head coach, including wins at Portland and at Oregon, and led the squad to the third of four straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
After a coaching stint at Tacoma Community College, Markey moved to Alaska, where he won high school state championships at Juneau Douglas in 1969 and Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1972. He spent part of 1981 as the coach of the Anchorage Northern Lights of the old Continental Basketball Association.
Markey returned to college coaching in the 1980s, creating an NAIA program at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. That team was known for playing fast-paced basketball, averaging 97.6 points per game in the 1987-88 campaign. Markey also assisted with many summer camps in Juneau.
He retired from coaching and teaching in 1996, but remained in Juneau with his wife Brenda. He returned to Seattle University in the summer of 2008, joining his teammates on the 1957-58 basketball team as the squad was officially inducted into the Seattle U Athletic Hall of Fame.
The thoughts and prayers of the Seattle University athletic department are with Markey's family and friends.
Some information within this story provided by Beth Bragg of Anchorage Daily News.