Dadeville head football coach Richard White announced his retirement on Friday following the Tigers’ 45-14 victory over Prattville Christian. White’s decision to step down comes at the conclusion of his 20th season as Tigers head coach.
White leaves Dadeville with a record of 138-89 and four region championships. The Tigers won their final two games of 2019 to finish 3-7, marking the third straight season in which the team had a losing record.
“It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for the last year or two. I’ve been a head coach for 20 years and a coach in total for 31,” White said. “I’m 61 years old, and it’s getting time to quit walking the sidelines, let somebody else take hold and look for something else to do in my life. When you’re a coach, you know when it’s time to give it up and walk away from it.
“Being around kids keeps you young when you get older, but the grind and the stress of it take their toll on you as you get older.”
White came back to his high school alma mater in 1989, joining Phillip Baker’s coaching staff. White worked as an assistant football coach for 11 seasons and also served as Dadeville’s softball coach before being promoted to replace Baker prior to the 2000 season.
The height of White’s tenure with the Tigers started in 2008. Following an 0-10 season, Dadeville began an unprecedented run of six consecutive double-digit win seasons, reaching the Class 4A quarterfinals three times during that run.
White passed Baker as the Tigers’ all-time winningest coach in August 2011.
“It’s a humbling experience to be able to go back to where you played on Friday nights and to give back as an assistant before I was fortunate enough to get the head job,” White said. “When you sit back and you look down that long road that began in 1989, you think, ‘Wow, it’s been a ride.’ It’s been enjoyable, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Some of the kids who are coming through the program, I coached their daddies and coached their mamas when I was coaching softball.
“I’m grateful I was able to experience that. I thank the people of Dadeville for putting up with me for so long.”
White’s final season at the helm of the Dadeville program had a promising start that unfortunately did not generate the bounce-back year all involved were looking for.
The Tigers took care of Horseshoe Bend with a 46-6 victory in the season opener then followed with an impressive game against rival Reeltown in which the Tigers came up just short, 28-20. The losses piled up starting with the defeat at the hands of the Rebels, as Dadeville dropped seven-straight games — four of which were by eight points or less.
The Tigers stopped the skid with a 35-14 victory over region foe Beulah followed by Friday night’s victory.
“We didn’t have the season that I thought we could have had, but we did finish the season with two wins at the end, which sent the seniors out on the good side,” White said. “We played two complete games for the most part, and I was proud and excited for them.”
As far as advice to his successor, White’s message was straightforward. He urged whoever is hired as Dadeville head coach to get involved in the community as much as possible and to truly love the players he works with. White said if the coach treats the players with respect, they will pay it back to him, and the players will answer the call if the coach challenges them.
White has been at the helm of the Tigers’ program for two decades. Now, he’s eager to see someone else pick up the reins and lead Dadeville forward.
“These kids here in Dadeville are different, and this community is different. If you treat the kids with respect, you’re going to get respect. If you love the kids, they’re going to love you back and play their butts off for you on Friday night,” White said. “That’s what I would tell the guy: be involved, coach these kids, love on these kids but coach them hard and love them at the same time. They’ll play their tails off for you.”