College of the Redwoods

White comes full circle, fulfills longtime ambition

Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Jason White is heading back to where it all began for him.

On Wednesday morning, the longtime local coach was named the new head coach of College of the Redwoods football, which will begin play again in the fall of 2022.

And for White, the hiring marks a return to where he began his coaching career as an offensive line coach back in the early 90s.

“Things have come full circle,” he said. “I am a CR alumni and I started my career there. When I first started coaching my goal was to become the head coach at CR.”

That particular journey took a few unexpected twists and turns, but he finally got there on Wednesday, and both coach and college are excited about the hire.

“It was an opportunity I just couldn’t let go by,” he said. 

White was one of 30 applicants for the job and one of eight finalists who were interviewed over the past couple of weeks, five of whom were given serious consideration, according to CR Athletics Director Bob Brown.

“We had five candidates that we had a good serious discussion about and any one of them was certainly worthy of the job,” Brown said. “What it came down to was Jason’s experience coaching and some of the success he had at the high school level, and the success he had when he was with us before. Some of those teams from the 90s and early 2000s were very good.”

The last time CR football had a winning record, in fact, was when White was the offensive coordinator in the early 2000s.

White has hit the ground running and by Wednesday afternoon he had already reached out to several local high school coaches.

He has a lot of local ties after coaching 12 years in the H-DNL, five at St. Bernard’s and seven at Eureka, before stepping away from the game after the 2019 season.

This spring White worked with Tag Wotherspoon broadcasting games every week on Mix 95.1 FM, so he remains familiar with the local players and who he might like to see at CR.

“There’s a lot of good local talent around here,” he said. “And a lot of really good juniors. I’m excited about talking with all these kids.

“You’ll see me out there every week,” he added. “We need to focus locally to start with. That’s going to be the foundation of our program.”

CR suspended the football program last summer for budgetary reasons, before announcing it would return again early last month.

One of the conditions CR President Dr. Keith Flamer placed on its return was more of a local presence on the roster, as well as an added emphasis on academics.

The local high schools have performed at a very competitive level in recent years, with the Big 4 programs regularly competing for state titles, so there is a pool of good players in the area.

“I think people will be excited by the amount of kids locally that will be interested,” White said.

As for his coaching staff, White says he has “a list of potential assistant coaches and I’ve talked to a few already and I’m working on it as we speak.”

White also coached at HSU for five years after his time at CR.

Brown, meanwhile, said serious consideration was also given to St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin, another local who has coached at CR and was among the finalists.

“Matt did an excellent job in his interview,” Brown said. “But Jason’s got a master’s degree and that was also important. You’ve got to teach in the department. 

“All five candidates did a great job interviewing, but Jason just ticked all the boxes. His vision, his experience, how he sees the importance of local recruiting.”

Brown also expressed his appreciation to everyone who was involved in the process.

“More than anything, I’m really thankful to our administration for its commitment that they have made,” he said. “And I’m very excited about where the program’s direction as a whole is going moving forward, and I know that Jason will put together a very competitive, strong team that knows the importance of focusing on both academics and the athletics.”

According to a CR press release, “The decision to reinstate the football program came after a funding commitment by the CR Foundation and the completion of an outside study that recommended steps to improve the football program. 

“The college is acutely aware of the community’s interest in seeing football return to Humboldt County and CR is delighted that, with Coach White’s help, CR can make that happen.”

Flamer said in the press release, “I am very excited to have Coach Jason White join the Corsair community as the football program’s new head coach. I look forward to having him rebuild our football program and work with our student athletes. 

“Coach White’s football acumen, commitment to education, and forward thinking will fit well with our program. I am most impressed with the commitment to promote excellence and service in the classroom and on the field and his concern with the holistic student experience. He is exactly what our students and community deserves and needs.”

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