E.A. Sports Today

White heading to Handley

White Plains head football coach to join Tigers’ staff as offensive line coach, head softball coach
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
ROANOKE – White Plains football coach Chris White was approved tonight by the Roanoke City Schools to become a middle school physical education teacher, varsity offensive line coach and head softball coach at Handley High School.
The move allows White to rejoin Handley coach Larry Strain on the sidelines. White worked under Strain during the latter’s one season as the Wildcats’ head coach in 2014 and succeeded him when Strain went to Handley.
“It’s a big opportunity to go back and coach with Coach Strain,” White said. “We have a great relationship. It’s a good opportunity for me to go to a little different program and work with some different type athletes; I think that’s a big deal. I think it’s a good move for me right now.”
The move had been gaining traction in local coaching circles the last several days, but it caught White Plains principal Andy Ward by surprise, as it will no doubt the players. Ward said a search for White’s successor would begin Wednesday.
“I really don’t know how to comment because Coach White has not spoken to me at this moment,” Ward said. “I do appreciate all that Coach White did, all his work that he put into it. I’m proud for him that he’s able to go to Handley and work with Coach Strain.”
Strain asked White to join him when he left for Handley, but White was given the chance to become the Wildcats’ head coach and, he said, “that’s where I felt I needed to be at the time.”
The two coaches have kept in touch in the interim. The Handley opening for a “physical education teacher with coaching duties” was posted June 10 and White said Strain called to gauge his interest, but White said “even up to last night (Monday)” the idea of him joining that staff was “still up in the air.”
White’s teams at White Plains were 4-36 in four seasons. The Wildcats won two games this past season, but had the lead in the fourth quarter in several games. Three of their final five losses in a 2-8 season were by seven points or fewer.
“We were very close (to turning the corner),” White said. “It was just there at the door knocking, just not knocking it down.”
Football has always been a struggle at White Plains. The Wildcats have made only one playoff appearance in school history (1994) and had only one winning season since (2003). They last were .500 in 2013.
With the required seven days to post the job opening and the Fourth of July holiday, the Wildcats may not get their new coach until right before training camp opens.
“We’re going to definitely be working overtime to find the right guy for the position,” Ward said. “It’s all about those kids. We want to put our kids in the best position to be successful; that’s what we need with a new coach. It’s going to take somebody to come in and put in a lot of work and spend a lot of time to turn that thing around and get that program going in the right direction. It’s going to take a special person to come in there and provide the energy we need.”

Cover photo: Chris White and Larry Strain on the White Plains sideline together when Strain was the Wildcats’ head coach.

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