New head coach on the hardwood

Joe White plans to help team rebound

Noah Noteboom // The Torch
Lane head coach Joe White prepares to pass the ball to a sprinting Lucas Wilson during a recent workout. White was a head assistant at Tacoma Community College and Lane before being named the Titans head coach on March 15.
Noah Noteboom // The Torch
Former 5A State Player of the Year, Lucas Wilson goes vertical in a workout with new head coach, Joe White. Wilson led Churchill to a second place finish in the 5A State Tournament in 2017.

In an office that seems no bigger than the school elevators, with sticky notes detailing his many responsibilities – from planning a future Crossover tournament to deciding where to recruit next – littering the walls, sits Joe White.

White, a Pleasant Hill native, was named head coach of the Lane Titans men’s basketball team on March 15.

“I found myself overwhelmed with joy and excitement,” White said on his initial reaction.

But he knows nothing is going to come easy.

“This is a profession at the college level where there is more pressure on winning,” White said.

White knows that pressure firsthand. He played basketball at Southern Oregon University under the winningest coach in SOU history, Brian McDermott.

Plans changed after his sophomore year, when he was offered a contract to play professionally in Ecuador.

“That was a dream come true,” White said.

In 2010, White found himself and one other American in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He signed a professional contract to play for Club La Salle in the second half of their season. White and Club La Salle made the playoffs, but were knocked out in the championship game.

“The game was very similar but also very different,” White said, comparing the style of play in South America and the United States.

White left the country after the season ended and returned to finish his time at SOU.

White was the head assistant coach under longtime Lane head coach Bruce Chavka, but when Chavka stepped down in early March, it was time for a new leader. Athletic Director and women’s basketball head coach Greg Sheley offered the position to White.

He accepted the job without hesitation and set out on the recruiting trail. Since then, he has signed nine players to next year’s roster, including Lucas Wilson, the 5A State Player of the Year in 2016-2017 who led Churchill to a second place finish in the OSAA state tournament. Often times the players can be seen doing 1-on-1 workouts with White in Titan Gym.

“Passion,” Wilson said when asked what he brings to the team. “This year I’m hungry.”