The 2017-18 campaign will mark the eleventh season as a National Junior College Athletic Association head coach and the third at Tallahassee Community College for Mark White.
White was introduced as head men’s basketball coach at Tallahassee Community College on May 4, 2015 – just the Eagles’ third coach since joining the NJCAA in 1991 - and has led the Eagles to back-to-back postseason appearances, including a berth in the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Championship Game in his debut season.
White guided Tallahassee to a 24-7 record in 2016-17, including his 200th NJCAA victory on January 7, 2017, at Pensacola State College (79-62) and is 45-19 through two seasons with the Eagles. Combined with a 161-66 record at East Mississippi Community College, White's collegiate coaching record stands at 206-85 (.708 winning percentage).
A native of Russellville, Ky., White’s coaching career spans 27 years, including 25 at various levels collegiately, including NAIA, NJCAA and NCAA.
White was hired by the Eagles following an impressive eight-year run at East Mississippi Community College, where he engineered a total transformation of the Lions’ program. East Mississippi represented White’s first head coaching opportunity at the collegiate level, and when he arrived on campus in Scooba, Miss., he did so knowing a monumental task lay ahead.
White inherited a struggling program and methodically took it to unprecedented heights at the state, regional and national levels. His early years were marked by steady improvement – from a 6-43 record in the two years prior to his arrival to 28-25 during his first two years on the Lions’ bench (2007-08 and 2008-09).
White’s tenure at East Mississippi took off in year three, and the 2009-10 season began a five-year run that produced a 115-33 record (.777 winning percentage), four consecutive Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division regular season crowns (43-5 league record during that span) and four straight appearances in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, courtesy of four consecutive NJCAA Region 23 titles. By the end of the 2013 season, East Mississippi was not only the premiere program in Region 23 (Mississippi) but White had elevated the Lions into the upper echelon of the NJCAA’s Division I programs.
Though the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons didn’t end in Hutchinson, Kan., the Lions averaged 19 wins per season. Included was a pair of trips to Tallahassee, where White guided East Mississippi to a split of four games in the Eagles’ after-Christmas Holiday Classic. Ironically, the first game White coached in the Bill Hebrock Eagledome came against Tallahassee on December 30, 2013, a 79-70 victory over the Eagles.
From 2007-15, White guided East Mississippi to a 161-66 record, a winning percentage of .709, and five 20-win seasons including a school record 27 wins in 2009-10 (27-7).
In each of East Mississippi’s championship seasons, White was recognized as the NJCAA District 15 and NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year. He was also tabbed by his coaching peers as the 2010-11 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Coach of the Year.
At East Mississippi, White coached five NJCAA All-Americans and 37 of his student-athletes continued their academic and athletic careers at the four-year level. Most importantly, he produced a graduation rate of 97.5 percent (39-of-40).
Immediately prior to being hired at East Mississippi, White was an assistant coach on Rick Stansbury’s staff at nearby Mississippi State University from 2002-07.
Over five years in Starkville, White and the Bulldogs enjoyed, arguably, the greatest run in school history – three SEC Western Division Championships (2003, 2004, 2007) and the Southeastern Conference Championship in 2004, the school’s first since 1963. During that span, the Bulldogs’ postseason resume included three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2003-05) and an NIT semifinal round showing in 2006.
At Mississippi State, White coached four NBA draft picks – Mario Austin (2003), Derrick Zimmerman (2003), Lawrence Roberts (2005) and Jarvis Varnado (2010).
Between 1990 and 2002, White coached at seven different schools beginning at Pikeville (Ky.) College, where he was an assistant from 1990-92. The following year, he began his NJCAA coaching career as an assistant at Wabash Valley (Ill.) College, the beginning of a longtime affiliation with veteran NJCAA coach Pat Smith.
After one season at Wabash Valley, White joined the NCAA ranks for the first time as an assistant at Georgia Southern University. In 1994, he reunited with Smith at Barton County (Kan.) Community College and the duo moved to Jacksonville (Texas) College the following season.
White left for North Idaho College in 1996 and spent four seasons (1996-2000) on the Cardinals’ bench as an assistant. His first season on the bench at North Idaho ended with a 121-116 overtime loss to Tallahassee in the third-place game at the 1997 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, still the highest-scoring game in the history of the tournament.
White returned to his home state in 2000 and earned his first head coaching opportunity at Central Hardin High School in Cecilia, Ky., where he was also a special education instructor. In two seasons as head coach, White posted a record of 31-22.
Combined with his collegiate record, White is 237-107 in 12 years as a head coach.
White earned two degrees from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. - a bachelor’s in health (with certification) with a minor in history and a master’s in health/physical education with a minor in administration and supervision. He also served as a graduate assistant and volunteer assistant coach for the Governors.
White has a son, Cade, who is a freshman at Tallahassee Community College, and a daughter, Kennedy Grier.