By Ray Hamill — Jason White doesn’t know if he’ll ever return to the sidelines, he just knows he needed a break from it all right now.
In the meantime, local football fans can only hope to see him again some time, while wishing him nothing but the best in whatever he decides to do.
He has undoubtedly earned that.
“You never know, and I’m pretty open-minded right now,” White said of his future after announcing on Sunday that he is stepping down as Eureka High head coach after seven years in charge. “We’ll just see how things go.”
White has either played or coached football for 35 years, most of them here on the North Coast and his decision caught many people by surprise.
The Fort Bragg graduate, who comes from a coaching rich family, coached at both College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State, before a seven-year stint at St. Bernard’s, and seven more at Eureka.
He is an exceptional offensive line coach who has impacted numerous players here on the North Coast, as well as a teacher of the game and life who will be missed, and his players flourished on and off the field.
He also enjoyed tremendous success on the sidelines, leading the Loggers to three conference championships in his seven years at the school, as well as a state playoff appearance in 2018.
His 2018 Loggers team, in particular, was one of the greatest ever to grace the North Coast in any sport, and an absolute joy to watch as they beat up on very good teams all season long.
White, however, readily admits he needed a break, at the very least.
“I’ve been doing this a while,” he said. “I’m honestly just tired right now.
“It’s a very demanding job. It never goes away. You work a ton of hours.
“Every game I coached, it takes a little bit out of you emotionally and mentally. I just needed to step away for a little bit.”
White told his players of his decision at the team’s end-of-season banquet on Sunday, but says he knew at the outset of the season.
Longtime assistant coach Andrew Haraldson, a defensive coordinator who has coached under both Garett Montana and White, will take over as the new head coach.
And that’s a transition White feels very comfortable about.
“As a young coach he already has the correct philosophy as to how to run a program,” White said of Haraldson. “It’s not only about winning, it’s about teaching the right values, and he understands that and believes in that.”
White says when he met with Eureka AD Kristie Christiansen to tell her of his decision, he recommended Hardaldson “without any hesitation.”
“I know he’s the right guy,” White said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
As for the future, the now former head coach will be pursuing his administrative credential, something he has wanted to do for some time.
And he says the players he coached and the coaches he worked with is what he’ll remember most from his time coaching.
“I’ll say the same thing I told my players, you look back at this five or 10 years from now and you’ll kind of remember the scores, but what you’ll really remember are the people,” White said. “That’s the thing you truly look back on with fondness.”