First Female Football Coach Honored by American Football Coaches Association as a Club 35 Member
The annual convention of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) was
Sunday-Wednesday, January 7-10, 2018, in Charlotte, NC, at the Charlotte
Convention Center. As the professional organization for football coaches at
all levels (NFL, CFL, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, high school, and recreation leagues),
the AFCA schedule includes training sessions, business meetings, and
recognition for the accomplishments of members. During a nationally-televised
Coach of the Year program on Tuesday night, January 9, national championship
teams and award-winning coaches from the 2017 season were honored.
Earlier on Tuesday, the new recipients of lifetime memberships in AFCA Club 35
were introduced on the stage at the General Session. Carol A. White became
the first ever female member of AFCA in 1985, when she joined Bill Curry's
staff at Georgia Tech. Having coached football actively for forty-nine years,
she is now the first female AFCA member to move into lifetime status. Instead
of a win-loss record, White is recognized for her contributions as teacher,
mentor, analyst, and administrator. She is still the only woman to fill an
on-field coaching slot at an NCAA FBS (formerly Division I-A) college football
program (1985-1988 at Georgia Tech). White left college coaching to focus on
her role training young athletes and educating coaches about special teams
play. For many years, she was featured as a speaker at Glazier Football
Coaching Clinics throughout the country. She still gives private lessons,
conducts full-day teaching clinics for specialists and coaches, and runs
week-long residential summer camps on college campuses.
Asked her reaction to Club 35 inclusion, White responded, "Football found me
when I became librarian at Monroe High School in Albany, Georgia, in 1970.
Staying with the profession was never a personal goal. At each phase of my
coaching career, I have been asked to help make others better. My mission has
been to empower athletes to maximize potential in life, using football as a
laboratory for growth. Working for a team, a coach must replace his workforce
frequently and must focus on team success. Working with individuals, I have
the luxury to follow development over the course of ten to twenty years, like
a family physician. It is not unusual for me to meet an athlete during middle
school years, help him adjust to body maturity during high school, mentor his
family through the college selection process, and share his thoughts as he
moves into the profession of his choice after college. Our role as coaches is
to help people have better lives. Through football, I have had a far greater
opportunity to impact individuals than in any other career for which I
trained. Despite achieving life membership in numerous academic and
professional organizations, the milestone of greatest significance to me is
reaching that plateau within the American Football Coaches Association."
Although recognized as an authority in training and evaluating kickers,
punters, and snappers, White started her career coaching linebackers and
analyzing team statistics. In the days before computers, she collected up to
fourteen facts about each live play before the next snap, often recording the
data on tape for later transfer to her clipboard. The Atlanta Falcons staff
welcomed her to study defensive practice plans, and she traveled to college
coaching clinics each spring. In April of 1985, White attended the clinic at
Georgia Tech to hear the late LaVell Edwards, then BYU head coach, explain his
offense. That weekend Tech assistant coaches spent time discussing strategies
with her. After her return to Albany, John Guy, Tech outside linebackers
coach, called to ask White to apply for an assistant job. Tech Head Coach
Bill Curry called the next morning to verify the request.
Attention to detail is the factor coaches at all levels mention when
describing White's value to their teams. She observes the whole program in
the process of developing special teams players. "I evolved from defense to
special teams because so few coaches understand how to teach kickers and
punters and because specialist progress must happen during the months when
football coaches cannot help them. I am seen as a valuable resource, so my
observations are accepted, " said White about her role as an outside
White admits that her longevity in football was never intended and resulted
from visions other coaches had for using her services. When Willie Thomas
succeeded Winfred Benson as head coach at Monroe High School, he asked White
to use her science and math aptitude to add special teams to her duties.
White found Edward J. "Doc" Storey, mentor to coaches and pro players, to
teach her. He later insisted that she be hired as summer staff for the Auburn
(University) Kicking Academy. She became director of that program for
twenty-four years. The kicking camp White started at Georgia Tech in 1986
moved to Morris Brown after the 1996 Olympics, then to Middle Georgia, and has
operated at Georgia Southern since 2006. At the request of college head
coaches, she brought the same program to Kentucky, Memphis (TN), Central
Florida, Appalachian State (NC), Coastal Carolina (SC), Ole Miss, Virginia
Tech, and Jacksonville State (AL). The camp in North Carolina moved to
Gardner-Webb in 2016. White expects to continue coaching individuals and
assisting coaches for several more years.
Comments by coaches who have worked with Coach White:
"Carol: Congrats; proud to say that I was there then, in 1985! How time flies. This is a well deserved recognition."
Tight Ends Coach
Carol White has allowed me the opportunity to grow as a coach and professional for each of the previous 12 years. I began working summer camps for her in 1991 and have benefited greatly from the instruction taught by the entire staff. I have seen her knowledge and tireless attention to detail benefit literally thousands of student-athletes over the years. I would encourage any aspiring specialist and/or special teams coach to make every effort to attend a camp/clinc that is associated with Carol White and Kick-Aid.
Running Backs Coach
Western Kentucky University
2002 - IAA National Champions
Congratulations Coach White that is quite an accomplishment!
Hope to see you soon!
Tim Stowers was an assistant at Auburn when the Auburn Kicking Academy was started. He was Head Coach at Georgia Southern (1990-1995), winning the I-AA National Championship in 1990, and at Rhode Island (2000-2007). He is currently offensive coordinator at Holmes Junior College (MS).
Congratulations on a award that is well deserved. Proud to call you my friend and colleague. You're an awesome teacher and coach but an even better person.
Head Football Coach Eastern Alamance High School
I will be returning from a speaking engagement in Iowa. I plan on attending the morning and day of your celebration. I can assist you in any way on that day. It is a great day to honor a Coach that has meant SO MUCH to so many student-athletes and coaches all over our country! Congratulations!!!
David Bennett was Head Coach at Catawba in North Carolina (1995-2001) before leaving to create the football program at Coastal Carolina (SC)(2002-2011). He is currently Director of Athletics for Lexington One School System outside Columbia, SC, after starting the football program at River Bluff High School. He has been President of the NCAA FCS (Division I-AA) coaches within AFCA.
I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments and I will always remember how you helped me to be a big part of the program at Georgia Tech. From your recruitment of me and your confidence in me that I could walk on and have a chance, to your help with me playing as a RS Freshman and receiving a full ride, you have long been one of my favorite all time coaches. I enjoyed working along side of you at some camps and feel that you have really influenced a lot more than just myself on their journey through college football
Stacy J. Parker
Head Softball Coach
Dalton High School
Stacy Parker graduated from Adairsville High School in Georgia in 1988. He was the starting snapper for Georgia Tech in 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992.