Handley has added a former head football coach to its staff, and the school made a head coaching change in another sport as a result.
Chris White, who took over as the head football coach at White Plains after current Handley head coach Larry Strain’s one year there, has been added to Strain’s staff as the offensive line coach. White will also take over as head softball coach after Chris Glass stepped down from that spot early last week.
A coaching spot became available earlier in the summer when James McMurray resigned to pursue a career outside of teaching.
White fills that slot, with his hire causing some ripple effects throughout the Handley athletic program.
Glass, who coached the softball team for the last two seasons, will continue as a football assistant and will move over to the baseball team in the spring as an assistant to Tyler Hall.
Glass said the change was not one he expected when the summer began.
“I did resign, but it kind of caught me off guard with the whole thing,” he said. “I was told that the softball was going to go in a different direction, so I went ahead and resigned.”
Glass went 32-33 in his two seasons. He led the team to a regional appearance in both years, but did not win a game in either of those regionals. The team went 11-19 last season while working through a rebuild after the departure of several key seniors from the year before.
“I wish I had four or five more years with those girls,” Glass said. “They’re young, but they’re talented and they’re going to be a special group.”
Officially, White has been out of softball the last several years to focus on his duties as head football coach, but he stayed involved with the program in conjunction with his daughter’s playing career. He also worked as an assistant under White Plains softball coach Rachel Ford prior to that and says that Ford, who has built a perennial state title contender at White Plains, will serve as a major influence when he takes over the program.
“Coach Ford set a very high standard. When I met with the [Handley] girls last week I told them what the goals are,” White said. “I can assure you the way we practice will be a lot harder than the ballgame. Just that high of a standard in practice was a great thing to be around. [Ford] brought a lot of high energy to practice, and that’s what I want to bring to Handley.”
White is also reunited with Strain after the two forged a strong working relationship in their lone season together at White Plains in 2014. White served as Strain’s defensive coordinator that year.
“I thought me and him thought a lot alike,” White said. “We both like to work real hard. We both, as far as game planning and the amount of time and hours that you put in, we just seem to work real well together. I could bounce things off of him, he’d give me great advice. He’d ask me things, I could give him advice back. I just thought it was a real good relationship for that short amount of time we were there.”
That relationship didn’t end when Strain departed to take the Handley job the following year.
“We stayed in contact the whole time,” White said. “I could really bounce some things off of him, some questions that I would have being a new head coach. He just helped me the whole time I was at White Plains. So when he had that position come open, he actually gave me a call and said, ‘Hey, do you know anybody that might be interested?’ I said, ‘Coach, you know I might be interested.’”
Things progressed from there until Handley made the hire official at last Tuesday’s school board meeting. Since then White has introduced himself to both the softball and football teams and has begun to integrate himself into his new environs.
“I’m just really excited to be at Handley, I can tell you that. Really excited,” he said. “I think it’s a great move, and working with the kids last week, I was excited about working with them. I think it’s a great place to coach, and it seems like a great community. So I’m really looking forward to this year.”