Tracy White is coming home.
After serving almost 20 years in the Dublin City school system as a teacher and coach, the 41-year-old White begins his newest journey March 1 as the head football coach at Bleckley County High School in Cochran.
White, who graduated in 1988 from Bleckley County High School, where he was a stand-out athlete, is excited. “I am feeling everything from excitement, to every realm of emotion – anxiety, happiness, and nervousness. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I just want Bleckley County to be successful and do well.”
The decision was made by the Bleckley County Board of Education at its last board meeting. Dr. Charlotte Pipkin, Superintendent of Bleckley County Schools, said, “During the interview process, Coach White presented a solid, well-developed plan for the future of the football program in Bleckley County.”
She continued, “As a former student athlete at Bleckley County High School and a former member of the coaching staff, he expressed a genuine interest in leading our football program.”
Pipkin added,”Coach White is excited to be coming back home and ready to get better acquainted with our students. We look forward to him joining the Bleckley County High School staff on March 1.”
Kimela Wright, chairman of the Bleckley County Board of Education, said, “”The Board is very excited about the plans and ideas Coach White shared with us, and we look forward to his vision becoming a reality. We welcome Coach White and his family back to Cochran and hope everyone will support the Royals in the fall.”
White said, “The time was right. My family was ready to come back home, and there is not another job that I would have considered leaving Dublin for, except for Bleckley County.”
He continued, “I enjoy doing what I have done here, and we have been here so long. We love living in Dublin, but Bleckley County is home. My wife is from there, I am, and our family is there.”
White graduated from the University of Georgia, where he majored in social science and went to work at Pickens County High School in Jasper for a former Bleckley County High School coach, Gary Morris. “I worked with Coach Morris for about a year there. My wife and I had just got married.”
It was in 1993 that White felt the call to Dublin. “Sam Barrs was coaching then in Dublin, and I really wanted to be a part of a winning football program.”
He continued, “It would get us closer to home, and I felt like Coach Barrs could really teach me about the game.”
For the first “15 or so years, I was in the classroom teaching social studies or history or government or economics,” White said of his teaching career, “and the last three, I have been teaching physical education.” He has been an assistant coach at Dublin High School, and coached at the middle school.
There have been many questions about White’s plan for Bleckley County High School when he takes over as coach from staff and game plans.
Anthony Jenkins, principal of Bleckley County High School, said, “Coach White’s plan is well organized and he just showed a real desire to be a head coach here. He told us that no matter where he was coaching, he always kept up with how Bleckley County did on Friday night.”
White agreed with Jenkins, “Bleckey County is home.”
It was in Bleckley County that White first donned a set of football pads and played his first game. “We called it Mighty Mite then. I was in the fourth grade. I think we had like four teams at the recreation department.”
As for the future of the football program, White said, “There is a plan, but right now, I just want to get there, sit down and talk with all involved and take it one step at a time.”
He did say that on the offensive side of the football program that, “we will be running the spread. Offensively, we will basically stay the same as they have been doing. They have not lost a lot of players, and those coming back are familiar with what they had been doing. We will make a few changes.”
Defensively, White said, “I really can’t answer what we will be doing right now. That is still in the works”
He added, “But there is a plan.”
Football, White said, “is such a way of life in this state, and in our region. I love to watch it. To me, there is no better game that can teach discipline and the lessons are related to life.”
White added, “You get knocked down and you get back up.”
The game “has changed from when I was growing up and playing, and even through the last years as I have come through as a coach.”
He said, “It is different. The relationship between a coach and player today is not like it was back then, especially with the older coaches. They become more like a father figure to the players – during my time, we mostly all had our mommas and daddies, but today, a lot of the players don’t have a father.”
White said, “When I was younger, if the coach said it, well, it was ‘yes sir’ or ‘no sir.’ Today, it is like, well, sometimes, a coach is all a player has.”
Sports, White added, “keeps so many kids out of trouble … doesn’t just have to be football, any sport … it is like, they have a reason to keep their grades up, to do better.”
White and his wife, the former Lori Porter of Cochran, have three daughters. Courtney is a senior at Dublin High School. White said she hopes to go to the University of Georgia when she finishes school. Calli is twelve years old and will start the seventh grade in Bleckley County next year, and Chesney is six years old, and will be in the first grade next school term.
The family will be moving back to Bleckley County. “It is a good thing. Our families are excited, and Lori is looking forward to moving closer to her mom and her sister.”
White starts his job at Bleckley County High School on March 1, and that is not the only change he will be making.
“Everything that I have with gold on it has green in it,” White said, laughing, referring to the Dublin Fighting Irish colors, “So, it will have to go.”
And out will come the purple and gold.