By Steve Andrews | Photos by Scott Miller
When he took the job back in 2016 as the first boys basketball coach at the new Bentonville West High School in Centerton, Greg White had his doubts that he would still be around seven years later.
“Yeah, I think a lot of people are surprised, really,” he said with a chuckle.
Yet the active and animated White remains a fixture on the Wolverines’ bench and has now led the program past the monumental 100-win plateau – now at 107 -- heading into Tuesday night’s home showdown with Fayetteville.
When asked about the program’s growth and success through those early years, White is quick to deflect any personal praise. Instead, he credits the players and assistant coaches who have come through and contributed.
“We’ve been very lucky here to have had great players, great parents and a great administration,” he said. “When I sit back and look at it, getting that 100th win was special, but I still think we’ve got to keep getting better. We have built this thing the right way. We’ve had a hungry staff; we’ve had hungry players and we have been able to have fun along the way.”
The 45-year-old Hot Springs native has now garnered 245 total victories in his 21-year head coaching career.
He credits his aunt Sherry White, one of the most decorated coaches in Arkansas girls’ basketball history, with helping him fall in love with the game and steering his future ambition toward teaching the game.
Sherry, a 2019 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, retired in 2020 after a 38-year coaching career. She compiled a 593-361 career record and captured five state championships – the first at Hot Springs in 1990, then four more in her five-year stint at Harrison.
“My dad passed away when I was young, so I grew up in the gym with my aunt and uncle,” Greg White said. “She gave me my first coaching job, when I got to work a station at her summer camp when I was just 12 years old. And I just kind of followed her around and learned as much as I could. From that point, I did not want to do anything else. I just wanted to be a basketball coach.”
He played high school basketball and graduated from Cutter Morning Star in Hot Springs, where he was coached by Lance Taylor, now the executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association.
White began refereeing high school basketball games, while in college, to help pay his tuition at Henderson State University. That enabled him to continue learning the technical aspects of the game, while also allowed him to create relationships with high school coaches and administrators – a network that would benefit him when he got into coaching.