Former Temple City coach Anthony White dealing with real adversity as first-year coach at Buena Park. This is an absolute must-read. Guaranteed to blow you away.

Above: Anthony White during football practice at Buena Park High. (Courtesy photo)

When I worked at the Orange County Register I made sure to religiously read certain writers at our paper. Among them was Jeff Miller, a general sports columnist. It’s not often Miller — one of the best columnists in the country — writes about high school sports, but Buena Park’s football team certainly caught his attention. All you have to do is read the first few paragraphs, and the story captivates you. Regardless of your opinion on White’s short stint at Temple City, you’ll want to read this. If this story doesn’t move you, nothing else will.

The words come out of a dark silhouette, detailing a story of abuse, of seeing Dad, drunk and raging, beat Mom, until he could force himself between the two, turning the incensed old man back into the night.

The room is still and faintly black, the shadows meant to blur the speaker’s features and sharpen the listeners’ attention. The kid stands alone and talks, his voice wavering, his story a cold, straight line.

OK, next. Now a second boy is up, sharing his details. One by one they rise and offer something about themselves, their home life, their situation. The stories almost always begin with unsettling confessions – a scab ripped raw – and end with building tears. A group of high schoolers sitting in a classroom, a place where growth is supposed to happen.

So, this, this is part of coaching football? Hearing kids tell tales of domestic violence and drug-addicted parents and nights spent homeless? It is here, at Buena Park, where they have all sorts of situations.

Click here to read Miller’s column with a photo gallery

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    I’ve been saying this since is not just coaching football, is about a variety things, such as being a mentor to young minds and preparing them for life’s challenges after high school. As a coach, we need to have some sort of compassion and understanding individual character from one player to another. Some coaches coach to relive their playing days and dont take into consideration the player’s personal issues that may affect their playing and/or learning ability of the sport.

    Sometimes, as a coach, we are the next best thing to a psychologist on and off the field. During practices, our words of wisdom can stay with a player for a life time.

    “Coaches are Teachers of Life”

    Coach A

  • viking fan

    As a mom reading this story, I was tearing up. These kids are going through some stuff that no kids should ever have to deal with. Coach White is doing a great job with them by not showing them pity, but being supportive and helping with the little things that mean a lot. People can learn a lot from him and his players.

  • I can definitely relate to the stories of these young men. While I didn’t share any of their experiences growing up in Pasadena, I know people who did – NFL Superbowl Champion – Rick Ervins, being one of them; he was literally homeless while attending Muir High School.

    Keep playing, gentlemen.

    Laurence Todd

  • HS Sports Fan

    Absolutely amazing!!!! Anthony White deserves “Man of The Year”. This is what sports and life is all about. This should be mandatory reading for “All” high school coaches. God Bless Anthony White and his staff.

  • One win season, winning in developing character

    As a high school coach, I understand our goals are to teach skills, strategy and develop young people to become better at their sport, and most important of all, is to teach working together, developing good character, respect, sportsmanship and teaching students to DO their best, and feel good that they’ve accomplished something with their teammates for their team, their school, their families and their community.
    Don’t you feel Anthony White would be doing what he is doing even if they were 0-3? Of course he would.
    I learned a very valuable lesson in coaching last year…when I thought I hopefully was teaching these things to the student-athletes, they were actually teaching me by showing they were learning and working together…so much that they as a group started going to library and tutoring and checking on each other’s progress. I simply emphasized education and team work is very important. I didn’t think high school students could all come together because of my previous experience with that age group in sports. I learned they could if someone believed in them as a group, regardless of their games won-loss record.
    I was taught a very important belief by my parents when I was young…you will always do better in life if people believe in you. You earn their belief by being a person with good character and helping others to be their best. Thanks Mother and Father!
    Coach White is being a good leader regardless of their record and the major credit goes to those young athletes for improving themselves and their team!
    The Anthony White story will distributed to our players the first day of practice when we talk about teamwork, unity, good discipline in the classroom and on the court, belief in each other and ourselves and more.
    Someone said at the banquet, “We won one game…” (and I thought that’s great for a group of people who hadn’t played the sport before to actually win a game is what they meant, until they finished the sentence)…”we won the game of life!”
    As a coach, we can hope that we are helping young people. That will continue to be my goal and Anthony White joins my list of people giving me inspiration to coach!

  • SG Valley Fan

    Thank you for this uplifting story. We can all do good work whether we are a coach or any other profession if we always do our best and treat people right.
    This is a good story to everyone to read. Thank you again.

  • Trojan Man

    I was on the staff @ RHS when Anthony was a Senior .
    Coach Lou Madrigal was the Head Coach @ the time.
    Even back then I KNEW Anthony was going to make it .I am PROUD to have been around this young MAN even for a short time.
    SHE MADE Anthony THE MAN HE IS !

    Keep making ALL OF US PROUD …Coach White.

    God Bless!!!

    Fight On

  • HS Sports Fan

    I forgot in prior post. This is what is needed in HS sports. This is a man of purpose, integrity and character. The kids respect him. And the post about if they were 0-3 is correct. They would still be winners just the same. It’s about caring. It’s interesting a coach can talk character/integrity but do the opposite to win. Kids are smart and figure things out quickly. Coaches you know who you are…MAN UP, It’s about the KIDS period and not you!!

  • ???

    I guess TC fans are going by the old saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

  • i met Anthony White when he was 11 yrs old playing for the Rosemead Rebels JAA, i have known his mother Lupe Amaya since high school @ L.A. Wilson from 1973, we have been great friends since our days at Wilson, and reconnected at the Rebels, she was also our AD for many years, all her kids played football, including her daughter Jennifer,and sons Justin Fregoso and Matt Fregoso of Rosemead high, who is also 2 time CIF Wrestling champion. the point im trying to make is that she did this pretty much by herself, always keeping her kids busy so they wouldnt go down the bad path, this is part of the reason Anthony was the high school heisman award winner his senior year, but he played for a terrible Rosemead high team because he was loyal to his friends and school, he could have went to any school he wanted, but he stayed home at Rosemead, unlike many HS players who jump from team to team every year, anyawy thanks Lupe for being there for your kids their whole life, Paul, P.S, for you old timers, she the sister of Jose Amaya, the long distance runner from the 70’s at wilson high

  • FbFan

    Just FYI Buena Park Seems to have won their football game last night 50-0. Making Anthony White and the Buena Park Football Team 4-0! Great Job Coach, I bet those “TC” fans didnt know what they had. God Bless you and all other High School Coaches.

  • Rams2010

    Im glad Coach White is having success at BP. I am a TC guy and I was there last year when White was at the helm. My early interpretation last season was this was a kid in over his head but had a great attitude and lots of energy. He is a family man first and a coach second. He put a lot of emphases on being a student, son, citizen and then a football player. He delegated much of his coaching responsibilities to his coordinators and assistants.

    The problems Coach White faced at TC began when he tried to hit homeruns when it came to putting together his coaching staff. In the past TC never had more than 6 coaches roaming the sideline and barking orders at practice. When White took over, it became a circus of coaches and each one was trying to be the ringmaster. Chow and McKay were not the right guys to be wearing the green and gold. Their egos along with Prados were bigger than the tradition at TC…which is saying a lot. In the end, their heads just didnt fit the in the old-school locker-room at TC. Their style of football wasnt a good fit. White would have been better-off coaching the defense and bringing up one of the lower level guys to run the offense. From what I’ve read and heard he did exactly that at BP. Unfortunately, for TC fans and the 09 team they were a learning experience for a young first-time head coach.

    After the dust settled…it goes back to the TC admin and their decision to move in a different direction, and bring in a guy who was fully capable, looked the part, talked the part, but in the end wasnt the right part for a program that was in need of a coach who understood and respected what Temple City Football is about.

  • Goldenarm

    Fb fan,

    On the contrary, Temple City supporters knew just what we had. We had a packed gym of parents and community when coach White was formally introduced. He explained his plan with great enthusiasm and made it clear this was no transition year. I liked him immediately and following the meeting, had the first of many one on one talks we had throughout the year.
    I don’t know who Rams 2010 is but this is a TC blogger who is damn close to accurate. Somehow, Coach White drifted from his original outline and plan of where he wanted to take the team and exactly how he saw the Rams being successful. Those who say he didn’t care are idiots, because if you saw his face after the LC tie-breaker, the man was crushed. You CANNOT say that about many of the assistants, who you can watch in the TC highlight film babbling meaningless commentary to a bunch of kids who stopped listening long ago. This was the core group of kids I had followed since freshman year, splayed out on the So Pas grass, in shock their season was over. These kids had beaten an undefeated M-town JV team on their home turf – had gone to the CIF semi-finals just a season before. Overachievers. Then being told they had not worked hard enough and to stop crying about it…hard core for 4 and this is #%&*^^& they have to listen to? Inexcusable, not acceptable – acts such as these are what has drawn the fire from TC supporters who have been blessed with a long roster of great leadership on the field.
    I made my peace with coach White and I respect the man. He is not a cross of Vince Lombardi and Mother Teresa as the article makes out…but he has what it takes to be an outstanding football coach, and that is already showing at the young age of 29.
    At the TC banquet he had already summarized in his head how the season had turned to crap and he was man enough to listen to this parent one last time give his opinion. Mistakes were made and it is done. If anything proves White can learn on his feet and learn fast – it is the fact White immediately got coach Ollie from La Mirada on his BP staff. Probably one of the best coaches of athletes anywhere in So Cal.
    Here is to continued success for coach Anthony White – he has already brought hope to a seemingly hopeless program, one where others tried and failed.

  • Honesty Speaks

    Coach Whites problem at TC was that he was all RA RA and all the details were delegated to the coordinators… All White really did was talk, talk, talk… Then bounced!

  • Hey YOu

    Great Job Coach White! Keep working hard like you always have! Great luck to you and your team in the future. God Bless

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