SEATTLE — Former Olympic High School and University of Washington basketball legend Christian Welp has passed away at the age of 51, according to Ashley Walker, assistant director of Athletic Communications at UW.
Welp, a 7-foot center, was Olympic High School standout who help lead the Trojans to the 1983 state championship with a 54-51 four-overtime win over Centralia.
Nate Andrews, Olympic High School athletic director, said Welp attended OHS during the 1982-83 school year.
“We inducted him into our OHS Hall of Fame a few years back,” Andrews said. “He was a well-liked person and man. His OHS family sends condolences to his family and close friends. We know his death was unexpected and we were fortunate to have him as a student many years ago. He will be missed by many.”
He donned the purple and gold from 1984-1987 and led the Huskies to back-to-back Pac-10 Titles and three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, Walker said.
He came to the U.S. as an exchange student from Germany
Welp’s name is all over the UW record books as he finished his standout career as the Huskies all-time leading scorer with 2,073 points, a 34-year old record held by Bob Houbregs that he broke during his senior season. He also owns UW’s career blocks record with 186 and is in the top five in rebounds (995, fourth) and field goal percentage (.562, third).
“This is an extremely sad loss,” said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. “Christian is one of the most outstanding student-athletes to have ever played at Washington. He was not only a great guy but he was a great role model and father and we will miss him dearly.”
The 7-0 German native was a highly decorated student-athlete during his time in Seattle as he was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (1984), the Pac-10 Player of the Year (1986) and was a three-time All-Pac-10 first team selection. Additionally, he was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2007.
Welp was selected as the 16th overall pick of the 1987 NBA Draft by Philadelphia and played for three seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors before heading overseas for a successful international career where he won nine championships in as many seasons with teams in Germany, Italy and Greece, added Walker.
He lived in Seattle with his wife and three children.