White officially named Cloudland head football coach

Published 8:22 am Thursday, April 25, 2019

ROAN MOUNTAIN— Sometimes in life, one doesn’t want to get to the end of the road in their retirement and look back wishing that they had done one last thing that they were passionate about but didn’t take that one last shot at doing.

That burning desire is why Coach Glenn White threw his hat back into the ring to be considered for a head coaching position and as a result, was rewarded by being named the new head football coach at Cloudland High School replacing the retiring Mike Lunsford.

“It feels very good,” said White after officially being named the new head coach. “I am blessed to lead a program again. I wanted to do it one more time before I retire so I am very blessed to have the job.

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“It’s been a program of Orr, Holt, and Lunsford so my goal is to keep that tradition going. I am looking forward to leading a program again. I feel that I am inheriting an excellent program that has been solid for years.”

It’s not that White hasn’t been around football or for that fact Cloudland Highlander football as he served as an assistant coach under Lunsford since 2017.

“It’s an honor to have coached with Coach Lunsford,” White said. “Anyone that knows him knows that he is a very talented person, coach, and teacher.

“He has won close to 250 games so it’s an honor to follow him as well as a challenge to follow him. My goal is that there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to continue his winning ways and continue winning with the program here.

White was quick to note that he and Lunsford are two different coaches who have two different styles to their coaching philosophy.

“I am not Mike Lunsford,” stated White with a grin. “I would like to buy some of those wins he has but we are going to do some basic pro-style offense which will spread it out some and things of that nature.

“It’s going to be a fundamental type of offense and defense.”

One of the daunting tasks that White will have to address is resurrecting the football feeder program from the middle school level.

Cloudland didn’t field a middle school team last season with those that desired to play driving to participate as part of the Hampton Middle School team,

“My first full year up here was in 2017 and we had a 22-member junior high team that went 6-2 and that advanced to a state playoff game and everything was solid there,” White said.

“I don’t know why we couldn’t field a team last year. I was here but I wasn’t involved in those decision-making processes.

“We have Coach (Scott) Potter that has coached here before and said that he was going to coach and myself being here in the building and Coach (Adam) Bolling being in the building we are just going to have to go and recruit and go get them,” continued White.

“I honestly think that we can field a junior high team this year.”

When asked about what message he is going to send out to his team during their first team meeting, the new head coach said it would be one of equality and fairness.

“I think the message is that hopefully they understand that I am an experienced coach and I do want to continue the winning ways here,” White stated. “It’s about winning—you have got to win-especially here.

“There’s no doubt in my mind and I fully understand that. I am going to let them know that I am fair and everyone is equal on my football team.

“Now, when it comes to playing ability that’s a different story but as far as the rights and privileges of being a Highlander they are equal.”

White has been keeping a distance from the team, as a whole, while the hiring process was ongoing due to not wanting to send the wrong signals.

“Since Coach Lunsford resigned, I had expressed interest in the job but I just didn’t feel comfortable even though I was an assistant, I didn’t feel comfortable coming up here,” White commented.

“I didn’t want people to think-well he thinks that he already has the job so I haven’t even had a team meeting yet with them. I have talked to some on an individual basis. I am looking forward to talking to the team very soon.”

While many may think the cupboard is bare, White admitted that he had some talented players returning that have already proven themselves.

“We have lineman coming back in Presswood, Miller, Julian, Johnson, and Childress which are your starting linemen and that is the foundation of a team,” stated White. “This bunch of boys has blocked for Jordan Coffey the last two years that rushed for over 2,000 yards each season.

“If you are getting over 2,000 yards a season rushing, then your linemen are doing a good job,” continued White. “We are going to build our team around that.

“We have to find a quarterback as we are losing the Benfield kid but you have Shell and Hunter coming back. The Birchfield boy will be in the backfield as well as Lacy and Black who will be back there some and a host of other players.

“I wished that I could mention them all. There are 22 positions on that football team and out of about 32 players so if they want to play, they ought to be able to play.”

One of the harshest critics that the new coach will have to win over is the Cloudland fan base and the secret ingredient to doing so is not that secret.

“I think it is a beautiful community as the people that I have met have been very kind to me. It’s a hard-nosed, work-hard, blue-collar community,” White added.

“I see no prima donna’s here. I see no boys that are being fed by a silver spoon. They have worked for everything they got and that’s very good. I am going to do my very best to be accepted into the community but I also know that if you win, you will be accepted so that the bottom line is that we have to win.”