All signs to Alcorn: Legendary QB takes first coaching job with Braves
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2018
LORMAN — The time was right for Pat White to return to his passion.
After working for Northwestern Mutual in north central West Virginia for a few years following his retirement from football, White had some opportunities within the financial industry arise. Yet all portents were telling White to head to Lorman.
“All the signs were pointing toward Alcorn State,” White said. “I had a few other opportunities with a few other companies and it all happened at the same time — Alcorn State and the two other companies came into play. Even though they were in the financial service industry, every sign was telling me to go to Alcorn. It was only right for me.”
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On April 18, Alcorn State officially announced that White would become the Braves’ new quarterback coach. With the move, White rejoined his former college teammate and current Alcorn offensive coordinator, Ryan Stanchek.
The two were teammates at West Virginia University from 2004 to 2008 — White was the quarterback while Stanchek paved a way for him along the offensive line. During White’s time at West Virginia, he put together what some could argue to be the best quarterback career the Mountaineers have ever seen.
He led the blue and gold to a 42-9 record, including four bowl wins. White was second all-time in total yardage from scrimmage with 10,529 yards and rushed for a then collegiate record 4,480 yards. He also rushed for 47 touchdowns and threw for 56 and is the only player in Big East history to ever total more than 100 touchdowns from any position.
“I think it was the biggest recruit in the FCS football year, player or coach,” Stanchek said. “That’s what I told him. I told him we just got the No. 1 recruit. I was sitting with him in Vicksburg and I just said, ‘You know we just signed the No. 1 recruit in FCS football right?’ He said, ‘Who was it?’ thinking it was a player but I told him it was White. That was the absolute feeling.”
Although Stanchek’s excitement couldn’t be contained when White finally committed to coach for the Braves, Alcorn’s recruitment of White had been in the works since 2016.
“I was able to come down in 2016 and meet Coach (Fred) McNair,” White said. “I really enjoyed him. He is a legend, which is an understatement for him. So having the opportunity to coach with those guys and more than anything, get back into the game of football and help young men to grow.
“It was a great opportunity back in 2016, but I just wasn’t in the place to take advantage.”
While Alcorn will be White’s first-ever coaching job, he has done some side work helping players with skill development at his brothers’ business, “Blueprint Performance,” which was formed in 2013 in Daphne, Alabama — White’s hometown.
The former signal caller provided guidance to aspiring quarterbacks for about five to six years, mostly in West Virginia. However, whenever he was in Alabama, White would help with the athletes his brothers were training.
Despite having that experience, he doesn’t know how the transition from trainer to full-time coach will be like.
“I haven’t stepped onto the field yet,” White said. “So, I’m hoping I can relay the message that is coming down from the OC to my guys and put them in the right situation and make sure their fundamentals are up to par to what a quarterback’s is supposed to be.”
Although White is somewhat unsure about what he can do with Alcorn’s current group of signal callers, Stanchek believes White could make whoever starts for the Braves into a top-notch gunslinger in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
“I think he is going to enhance the great quarterback teaching they have already gone through,” Stanchek said. “They have had good coaches. I think he is just going to enhance the position. He has been coached by arguably some of the best coaches in the world. Coach Shannan, he has worked with George Whitfield who is the quarterback guru. He has worked with those guys. I think that is going to be huge, some of the terminology those guys use and how he can show how they taught him in the NFL.
“Having ‘Air McNair’ and Pat White coaching quarterbacks never hurts.”
In the one practice he has seen in person and on film, White said that every quarterback on this year’s roster could give Alcorn a chance to win the SWAC.
Even though White has some nerves entering his first year as a coach, he is ready to pass along his knowledge of running the spread-option that he learned at West Virginia, which is the scheme Alcorn will be running this season.
“Just play within the system,” White said. “Trust what you are being coached to do. More than anything, I’m learning. I’m teaching them how to perform but when I watch them in practice, I’m learning how to be a better coach.”
When Stanchek first heard that the Braves’ quarterback coach position was opened, he immediately thought of White. And after some convincing and persistence, White couldn’t say no for the fourth time, he joked.
Now, as he is on campus evaluating current and possible future Alcorn players, White is all smiles because he is back involved with his lifelong passion: football. And White is ready to help mentor the athletes on the Braves’ roster. But more importantly, he is up to the challenge of making Alcorn a championship contender.