White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?

Pat White

White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The irony, if that is the correct word, is not lost on us here in West Virginia.

Exactly one year to the day after it was announced that Neal Brown would replace Dana Holgorsen as head football coach at West Virginia University, former Mountaineer quarterback Pat White was hired by South Florida to coach the Bulls’ running backs.

Pat White runs for a score against USF

Can that be taken as a signal that White may be beginning down that twisting road of coaching that will end up eventually bringing him back to his alma mater, where he was one of the most exciting, productive and popular players in the school’s history, either as an experienced assistant coach or as a successor to Neal Brown once his run as Mountaineer coach ends?

Certainly a return of White to WVU at some future date would be a major step toward uniting the school’s present with its past, a time when he won four bowls in four years at a school that has won only four other bowls going back to 1984.

The expectations for Neal Brown, after a debut season in which he won five games and nearly took a couple of others, are to put together a successful career as a Power 5 coach at WVU and to build a contender for the Big 12 championship.

But the thought that it will be a Don Nehlen-esque career where he puts in 20 years at the school is improbable, for far too many coaches have come to WVU, built successful programs and moved on such as Rich Rodriguez, Bobby Bowden and Jim Carlen.

To have Pat White prepping in the wings for what well may become a highly successful coaching career after having spent a decade trying to lay out the direction in which he would go is a warm security blanket for not only the school’s administration but its wide-ranging fan base.

White won not only football games but hearts while he played here with Steve Slaton and a strong group of supporting characters, winning 35 games while losing only eight, one of which unfortunately was the most difficult defeat to swallow in the history of the school, an improbable upset at home while a junior as 28.5-point favorite over arch-rival Pitt.

Had WVU won that game it would have played Ohio State for the national championship, but White suffered a thumb injury in the game and was not at his best, perhaps due to the injury or perhaps due to Rich Rodriguez’s inflexibility in his play calling.

Speaking on MetroNews’ “Three Guys Before The Game” last fall, Rodriguez admitted that he had large regrets regarding his play calling against Pitt, noting that he has trouble re-watching the game today.

“I can’t. It makes me want to throw up,” Rodriguez said. “I think I did watch it one time. I was so bad in calling that game. Pat got hurt. We made some mistakes we never made. I played it too close to the vest. There’s a lot of things I would do over. I try not to think about that as much. But I try to think of the good things as opposed to that one terrible night.”

As it is, that game had to serve as a valuable lesson to White as a future coach in any number of respects — lessons about getting a team ready, calling a game, making adjustments during a game and the healing from any wounds that come from a crushing defeat.

He came back to lead West Virginia to a stunning victory over Oklahoma — yes, that Oklahoma that WVU has never beaten in the Big 12 — in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl that followed the Pitt loss and then became an advocate to hire interim coach Bill Stewart to replace Rodriguez.

But then White went off to find himself. After finishing seventh and eighth in the Heisman voting his junior and senior year, he was a square peg trying to find a place in a round NFL.

He was a quarterback who rushed better than he threw, finishing his career with 4,480 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns while passing for 6,051 yards and 56 touchdowns. Tall and lean, there was talk the NFL might convert him to a defensive back or a running back or receiver, but he really wanted to play quarterback.

He was drafted by Bill Parcells in Miami, who envisioned him playing a wildcat role, but that never worked out and he wound up suffering a concussion when hit by the Steelers’ Ike Taylor, then went on to play in Canadian Football League and the now-defunct UFL before retiring due to concussion problems.

He tried to pick up his baseball career, too, but really was groping for direction at that point.

Two years ago former WVU teammate, Ryan Stanchek, who was offensive coordinator at Alcorn State, hired White to coach the quarterbacks and he became an instant hit. In two years at the school he coached the SWAC’s two offensive players of the year.

Stanchek left Alcorn State after the 2018 season to join the staff at Southern Mississippi as offensive line coach but White proved he didn’t need to lean upon him and helped Alcorn get to a bowl game.

South Florida, which had already hired away WVU’s receiver coach, Xavier Dye, was highly impressed with White when they went searching for a running backs coach.

“We are very excited to have Pat join our staff and lead our running backs unit,” new USF coach Jeff Scott said in the school release. “Pat was an electrifying player that I’m sure Bulls fans remember well. He played at a very high level, broke records and won a lot of games as a quarterback at West Virginia and has had tremendous success in two seasons coaching at Alcorn State.

“He will be a great coach and mentor for our USF players.”

Oddly, two of the eight losses White experienced in college were administered by South Florida, including the only loss the Mountaineers had experienced in 2007 before the tragic Pitt upset. They also were the last Big East opponent White would face in his career, holding him to just 40 yards rushing and 141 passing in a 13-7 Mountaineer victory in 2008.

Make no doubt now that White is committed to coaching he has all the leadership and knowledge necessary to one day become a successful head coach and he is smart enough to know that all he lacks is the experience to grow into the job.




Home Page forums White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?

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  • #107945

    White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU? MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The irony, if that is the correct word, is not lost on us here in West Virgin
    [See the full post at: White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?]

    #107953

    Let’s give White time to gain some experience before coronating him the next coach.

    #107977

    Being a position coach is great, but not sure White has the skill set to be head coach or coordinator coach. Time will tell….

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Home Page forums White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?

Home Page forums White’s Next Step In Coaching Career Leading to WVU?