Coach: Shannon White
School: Sumrall High School
Years coaching: 31 years total, six years coaching at Sumrall High.
WDAM: How do you motivate your team each time before they hit the field?
White: There’s not much I can say to motivate them at this point. We have just spent a week lifting weights, running, practicing and having meetings. It’s important they become self-motivated at critical moments and not rely on someone else for motivation.
WDAM: What is your proudest moment as a football coach and why?
White: When (former) player comes by to visit. It validates that there is a relationship there that wasn’t based on football.
WDAM: What are you looking forward to this season with your players?
White: The journey of a season. Hopefully there will be a lot more highs than lows, but a team is a lot like a family. There will be a story to tell at the end of it.
WDAM: How do you gain trust and motivate your players?
White: You have to get to know them as people, not just players. Once they know you care for them, then it’s much easier to coach them.
WDAM: Who is your greatest role model either personally or as a coach? Why?
White: My dad. He is just so consistent every day as a husband and dad. He has a great approach to every day. I’ve never seen him have a bad day, although he did blow up over a lawnmower he couldn’t fix. He is a tough cat, but is also not afraid to show his emotions, very comfortable in his own shoes.
WDAM: What mistakes have you made in your coaching career and how have you been able to learn from those mistakes?
White: Not listening to others early in my career. I’ve learned to delegate a lot better. I’ve learned which “battles” are worthy of fighting for.
WDAM: What are some ways you help your players off the field?
White: We do a lot, but being available to our players is a priority. This can simply be driving a kid home from practice or counseling one that going through some tough issues.
WDAM: How do you plan on improving as a coach from year to year?
White: Our staff spends a lot of time talking to other coaches. We are constantly looking at new ideas about strength and speed improvement, practice improvement and schemes. That’s a year-round process.
NOTE: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.