Glenn White said he wanted another opportunity at the top of a football program, and the door opened Tuesday for him to become the new head coach at Cloudland.
“I don’t think the coaching drive ever leaves you,” said White, who will turn 57 years old next week. “I didn’t want to be sitting on the front porch when I’m 75 years old and thinking I wish I had done that. I wanted to lead a program one more time.”
The Erwin native takes over from the ultra-successful Mike Lunsford, who stepped down earlier this year. White was an assistant under Lunsford the past two seasons after resigning as head coach at Unicoi County.
“After I resigned at Unicoi, Coach Lunsford called me and wanted me to come help at Cloudland,” said White. “He treated me like a brother, and basically single-handedly saved my coaching career. I truly appreciate that.
“And I fell in love with the place. It’s a tremendous community of hard-working people, and the kids are hard nosed.”
White will have an opportunity to be a bigger dog this time. In coaching stints at Happy Valley and Unicoi County, it was often an uphill climb against schools with higher enrollment.
“The Class 1A league has been good for Cloudland,” said White. “However, we are playing a tough schedule with South Greene, Johnson County, Hampton twice and Happy Valley. That’s pretty tough for a 200-student school, but it’s something for the most part Cloudland has been successful with. I plan to do everything within my power to continue the success.”
White said one of the biggest things he shared with Lunsford was blocking schemes.
“We are the same age and came from the same era,” said White. “He’s an angle blocker up front, and I’m an angle blocker. We understood the same blocking schemes.
“And Mike’s Tuesday practices were tough. He loved the kids, but demanded their hearts. It has been positive to be around someone who has won nearly 250 games. It was a positive experience from beginning to end.”
White was head coach at Gordonsville from 1989-90. He returned to Unicoi County before taking over at Happy Valley from 1995-96.
And from 2014-16, he was head coach at Unicoi County. All told, he spent 24 years as a coach for the Blue Devils.
“Unicoi has been real good to me,” said White, who began coaching while still in college at ETSU in 1981. “It’s my hometown, and they’ve hired me back several times.”
WHAT TO EXPECT
White said his team will still have some of same look it had under Lunsford.
“I learned some things I think I will use,” said White. “I don’t want to say what they are because I don’t want the opponents to know it.”
The option game might be one way White departs from Lunsford’s offensive approach.
“We have to find a quarterback,” said White. “It’s according to whether the quarterback can do it. If not, we will go back to what Mike did. He always had a tailback, whether it was Cloudland or Hampton. I hope that continues and doesn’t dry up.”
White said he also wants to re-establish the middle school program, which went 6-2 in 2017 but didn’t have a team last year.
“We want to rally those kids to play,” said White.