E.A. Sports Today

White moving on

Anniston football coach heading to Huntsville’s Mae Jemison; updates with White’s statement

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

After a successful five-year run as Anniston’s head football coach, Rico White is heading north to become the next head coach at Huntsville’s Mae Jemison High School, EA Sports Today has learned.

Sources told the website the hiring was approved last Tuesday but has not been made public.

“This decision has not been an easy one for me, considering all the love and support that I have received from this organization as well as the city of Anniston over the past few years,” White wrote in a prepared statement Thursday night. “While I have enjoyed my time at Anniston, it is with my deepest regards to move forward and in efforts to pursue future goals and advance my career.”

In White’s five seasons at Anniston, the Bulldogs were 35-23 and went to the playoffs all five years. He was their second winningest coach this century and their winningest coach in post-season play since Rodney Bivens. He is 65-95 in his seven previous head coaching stops.

The Bulldogs won their first region title since 2011 this past season and had it won last year until a ruling by the AHSAA forced them to forfeit several wins and dropped them in the standings.

They were 11-1 this season, with the loss coming in the last second to Andalusia in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs. It was their first undefeated regular season since 2001.

In the last two season he was the head coach for Alabama signees Antonio Kite and Ryqueze McElderry and South Carolina commitment Kamron Sandlin.

“It’s been wonderful,” Anniston assistant coach Brad Ball, perhaps the closest member of the staff to White, said of the head coach’s tenure. “What we’ve done, a lot of people, the media, said it couldn’t be done. 

“Just to the point of winning, we’ve had winning seasons (four of the) five years, been to the playoffs all five years; we’ve done everything but win the championship.

“Anniston is a great place and it’s out there mainstream now. You can’t talk about 4A football unless Anniston is in the conversation.”

White said he couldn’t comment on the Mae Jemison situation when reached by East Alabama Sports Today last week because he said he wasn’t aware there was a situation involving him. His new position is effective Jan. 3.

“I want to encourage you to continue with the excellency and tenacity that you have always exemplified and maintained throughout the years,” White continued, directing this part of his statement to colleagues, coaches, booster club members and players. “It has been my pleasure and my honor to work with you all.

“I appreciate the opportunity that was afforded me in my time here at Anniston and I look forward to growing even more as a coach with the lessons you all have taught me. So, thank you for all your trust, lessons, support and love as I carry on to my next phase. I will always support my fellow bulldogs.”

As close as he is with White, Ball said he had no plans on leaving Anniston.

Mae Jemison will be a challenge. The Jaguars went 0-10 this past season and haven’t had a winning season since 2017.

The White File

Here is Rico White’s record in his five seasons at head football coach at Anniston High School:

x-forfeited two wins (one in region) due to ineligible player

Cover photo: Anniston football coach Rico White is flanked by his two D-I commitments Ryqueze McElderry (R) and Kamron Sandlin during this year’s Calhoun County Football Media Day.

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