Had this all happened a decade ago, David White isn’t sure how he would have handled it.
White was hired in February as the new head football coach at Blue Springs, taking over the program that for 20 years was led by Kelly Donohoe. There was plenty of work to be done – meeting his new players, working with new coaches, finding a new home for his family.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Things haven’t ground to a halt, but the process has been hampered a bit. It’s frustrating, for sure, but the maturity that comes from experience has made it easier for White to manage.
"I’m a little bit different than I was back in the days I was first coaching high school," White said Tuesday in a phone interview. "If this had happened 10 years ago, shoot I’d be going crazy right now and frustrated. It’s frustrating for sure, but I think having a little more patience and being just a little bit older brings a calmness about it, and I think that helps out."
It’s been over a decade since White’s last extended stay as a high school coach at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. In between came two stints as a college assistant coach and a year at Ridgeland High in Mississippi.
White visited Blue Springs shortly after getting the job and came back during the first weekend in March for a few days. But that’s been it. That’s hardly enough time to get acquainted, let alone find a home.
White wants to come up later this month, but that poses another question: Does he bring along his wife and three small children? Will it be safe to travel then?
With the world swirling in uncertainty, is this really the time to jump to another job?
"It makes you think a lot," White said. "Trips to Wal-Mart and around town when I see people with their masks on they’re like, ‘Coach, are sure you want to leave?’ It does affect you a little bit because you feel bad.
"I have a great job and great people down here, but at the same time Blue Springs is something I really want to do. It’s a great place and a huge challenge."
The challenge now includes watching over his former players in Ridgeland, who are also out of school and learning online, and establishing a relationship with his new ones in Blue Springs. He doesn’t want the kids in Mississippi to fall through the cracks. And he’s making sure his new charges are on the ball too.
That’s hard to do from a distance.
"The coaches up at Blue Springs have a better relationship with the kids and I think they’ve been doing the same thing," White said. "They said they’re a pretty good group and self-sufficient, but then again nobody’s been through this."
White has left it up to Joel Page, Blue Springs’ strength and conditioning coach, to design the Wildcats’ workouts. White of course is offering his input too. With no track season likely this spring, he wants his players working on getting faster.
"I’ve been doing everything I can I guess within the guidelines and also trusting what they’ve been doing up there because they have a heck of a workout program," White said. "I’m going to emphasize a little more speed and conditioning because it doesn’t hurt to be fast.
"But that’s part of the frustrating part. These kids are reaching out. They want to talk to you, they want to get to know you."
White hopes that will start in earnest June 1, when Missouri high schools are allowed to start summer workouts. He hopes to have a home in Blue Springs by then, too. But with the end of this pandemic far from certain, who knows what will be possible then?
That’s where that added perspective comes in handy.
"Patience is kind of the thing," White said. "I wished I could be around them a little bit more, but I think from afar we’re doing a lot of things and being productive."