John White, right, speaks with Donnie Fuller Friday at the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame ceremonies which were held in Jackson. Fuller was White’s manager when he was in high school at Warren Central. Both were inducted into the Hall of Fame. White is a native of Neshoba County.
John White, right, speaks with Donnie Fuller Friday at the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame ceremonies which were held in Jackson. Fuller was White’s manager when he was in high school at Warren Central. Both were inducted into the Hall of Fame. White is a native of Neshoba County.
Neshoba County native John White has been inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame during ceremonies held in Jackson last Friday.

"I had a great turnout of friends and family who came for the induction," White said. "I was very fortunate in my career and worked with a lot good people. To be inducted into the coaches Hall of Fame was a great honor and one I appreciate."

Most of his coaching, teaching and working in administration was done in Warren County. His final record in coaching boys basketball was 270-99, and he led teams to the state tournament.

White started his education at the old Linwood School which was in the Neshoba County Schools. He transferred to Philadelphia High School in 1957 as a sophomore, and played on state championship teams that were coached by Frank Hodges. He graduated in 1959.

He signed to play basketball at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama). After a semester, he transferred to East Central Junior College where he played two seasons. White signed to play basketball at Mississippi College where he finished his college basketball career.

White went to work as a teacher and boys basketball coach at Redwood High School in Warren County in 1964. When the school consolidated with others to create Warren Central High School, White was named boys basketball coach of the Vikings, a position he held unto 1975.

When asked about career high lights, White said that his Warren Central teams beat Gulfport twice in the playoffs during 1973 and 1974.

"After I beat [longtime Gulfport Coach] Bert Jenkins twice, I said it was time to get out," White said with a laugh. "In my last two years we finished fourth in the state one year and second in the state the next.

"But really, I was raising a family and I needed to be home more. It was time for me to move into administration," White said.

Afterwards, White went into administration and was assistant principal at Warren Central. The Warren County schools were merged with the Vicksburg City Schools in the late 1980s and White was named athletic director of the new school system.

Bringing two school systems that had been rivals together wasn't easy, White said.

"The people at Vicksburg were reserved at first because I had been at Warren Central," White said. "I treated them the same in running the program and attended the Vicksburg games just like I did the Warren Central games. It worked out."

White spent 32 years in Warren County and retired in 1995 to return home so he could be closer to family.

"My mother was still living and getting older and I wanted to be closer to home," White said.

White accepted a position in administration with the Choctaw Tribal Schools and worked in education for another 10 years.

This induction into the Hall of Fame meant a little extra to White because joining him in the class of 2014 was Donnie Fuller, who served as his manager back when Fuller was a student at Warren Central.

"Donnie started being my manager when he was in the seventh grade," White said. "He would come over to the high school and stay with me each day until practice was over."

White would help Fuller get a scholarship to manage the Ole Miss basketball team. When Fuller graduated, he coached basketball a year at Philadelphia High School.

Then, Fuller went back to Warren Central as ninth grade basketball coach and assistant varsity girls coach. Fuller left for a time to return to Ole Miss where he coached under Vann Chancellor. As athletic director, White brought Fuller back to Warren Central as varsity girls coach. Fuller is currently the girls coach at Gulfport High School.

"Donnie is a good friend and a hard worker," White said. "He is very deserving to be in the Hall of Fame."

Also inducted into the coaches Hall of Fame were retired Neshoba Central football coach Chuck Friend, longtime basketball coach Jack Case of West Lincoln High School and coach Mickey Linder, who coached in the Tupelo schools for 40 years.