116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
He was “Michael White” when he was in Cedar Rapids, a fresh faced kid from New Zealand with a golden arm.
He’s now “Mike White,” a 54-year-old man with a golden touch as a college softball coach.
His Texas team wrapped up a 47-22-1 season earlier this month with a runner-up finish in the Women’s College World Series, losing a 10-5 decision to Big 12 nemesis Oklahoma.
White never intended to be a coach, hoping one day to own his own business.
“It was never in my long-term plan,” he said Sunday from Austin, before heading onto Lake Travis to spend Father’s Day with his family.
But here he sits, 160-56-1 in four seasons in Texas and five wins shy of 600 in a 13-year career that started with nine seasons — and 435 wins — at Oregon. He’s coached teams to the World Series six times.
“I always say ‘never say never,’” he said. “I’ve been blessed.”
When White joined the Cedar Rapids Teleconnect men’s fast-pitch softball team, it was an era of hired guns — pitchers, a lot from New Zealand and some from Canada, who would show up, whiz the 12-inch softball past batters and head to the highest bidder the next season.
White was different then — and he’s different now.
He met a girl from Cedar Rapids — Lisa Revers — got married and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing and management from Mount Mercy.
After pitching Teleconnect to the 1987 International Softball Congress World title, White did jump around a bit.
He pitched for several “amateur” teams in the United States and took New Zealand to an International Softball Federation World title in 1996 (he also did it in 1984). He became a United States citizen in ’97 and pitched the U.S. to a bronze medal in the 2000 World Championships.
Pitching was his ticket then, coaching is his “lifestyle” now.
“I love to compete,” he said, adding now “I’m hoping to hopefully end my career at Texas.”
He gave up pitching when his body told him it was time to do something else. He’ll give up coaching when he no longer has that fire.
He’s a long ways from that right now, though.
“You do things until you don’t love it,” he said, noting he still keeps in contact with many of his Teleconnect teammates. “When you lose that desire, it’s time to hang it up.”
He said winning a national title is the “carrot out there,” but the man who pitched 11 teams to Amateur Softball Association or ISC national titles won’t let that define this coaching career.
He said watching players grow and succeed far outweighs any gold medals.
“That’s what really makes it special,” he said.
When reminded his playing days were more about winning than memories, he laughed.
“With age, you mellow out,” he said, “and take a more macro view of life.”
Many noted the Oklahoma dynasty — six NCAA titles since 2000, including back-to-back — and said this year’s team may have been the best ever.
“I haven’t seen too many teams that could compete with this team,” White said.
Even though that doesn’t make his job any easier — another Big 12 team, Oklahoma State, finished third at the World Series — he welcomes the challenge.
“You can whine all you want or you can compete,” he said. “... or you can just give up.”
That’s nothing happening any time soon.
“The next step is trying to repeat and get back there,” said White, who was out recruiting just days after the World Series. “It’s like a treadmill ... it’s another a cycle.”
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