High School Sports

South Meck High football coach Rocky White ‘disappointed’ he won’t return next season

Riding with Recruits: Trent Simpson of Mallard Creek High

Mallard Creek High's Trent Simpson talks about the transition from running back to linebacker on Riding with Recruits. Recorded on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
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Mallard Creek High's Trent Simpson talks about the transition from running back to linebacker on Riding with Recruits. Recorded on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

South Mecklenburg High football coach Rocky White says he had no idea that he was going to lose his job this week. But White said South Mecklenburg principal Maureen Furr informed him “it was time for a change.”

The position has been posted on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ job site. It has a close date of June 11.

Furr did not return multiple calls from the Observer.

“I’m extremely, extremely disappointed,” White told the Observer. “Obviously, I’m a grown person and I understand we’ve not had a good record. The last two seasons have been extremely poor, wins and losses wise, but that has never been relayed to me as a big-time objective in my time at South Mecklenburg. If that would’ve been a problem, I certainly thought that would’ve been communicated to me as soon as the season was over.”

White, 58, just completed his seventh season at the school. After going 5-17 in his first two seasons, 2013 and 2014, White’s teams produced back-to-back winning seasons in 2014 and 2015, going 8-4 and 9-3.

That was the first time the Sabres had consecutive winning seasons since 1996 and ‘97.

But after a 6-6 season in 2016, South Meck was 2-10 in 2017 and 3-8 in 2018.

White said Furr asked him to resign but he declined. He said he will remain at the school as a strength and conditioning coach, a health/PE teacher and head boys’ track coach.

“I haven’t done anything to embarrass myself, my young men, my staff, the school,” White said. “We’ve tried to run this thing absolutely as professionally as possible. Of course, when you’re dealing with 100-plus student-athletes and parents, there’s things that will go wrong and people don’t like, but we dealt with them the best we could. As far as I knew, we were coming back and gearing up ready to go.”

Furr and current athletics director Kevin HInson are retiring and with spring practice in full swing, White, a former Olympic High star who played at North Carolina, questioned the timing of the move.

“You come to me at the end of the 3-8 season,” White said, “and say things are tough and you want to make a change, and kids can adjust to it and my coaches and myself can go find a job. I completely understand that. To do this at this time, when two people who are making the decision are going out the door, and my staff and myself have no time to start looking for jobs, it’s tough.

“It’s tough to explain that to kids. We’ve been through winter in the weight room and we’ve started spring ball. We’re rolling, man. We’re thinking everything is in place and to have it pulled out from under us is really discouraging.”

White said the Sabres have had between 55 and 65 players out for spring practice and expects 27 lettermen and 10 starters to return next fall. He said he had a quarterback transfer to Vance and a lineman transfer to Myers Park before this happened. He worries with the timing of this move that other players may look elsewhere. But White said he’s completely open to being an assistant under the new head coach at South Meck.

“Making this move this late, in the day we live in now,” White said, “you can count on tons of people buzzing those phones, saying ‘Come over here to greener grass.’ With some better communication, it didn’t have to go down like this. I hate it for the kids. But young men, young women, student-athletes are resilient and will battle through it. Change is the one constant and you’ve got to learn to deal with it, man. It ain’t all good. I just hate to see it go down like this.”