Bath’s White: ‘We’re going to get this thing corrected’

In 58 years in the Western Buckeye League, Bath has been the league’s champion in boys basketball four times, three of them in the era when the initials LBJ were associated with the president of the United States, not LeBron James.

Since winning its most recent WBL championship in 2013 and playing in back-to-back regional championship games that year and in 2014, Bath has gone 15-75 in league games.

When former Bath standout Dre White was hired recently as the Wildcats’ head coach he became the fifth person to hold that job in a span of seven seasons.

White, a two-time first-team All-WBL player in 2009 and 2010 who went on to start two years at Ohio Wesleyan, says he is certainly aware of the challenges but told his players there are also reasons for optimism in his first meeting with them.

“I’m excited for it. Obviously, it’s not news to anybody that it’s going to be a challenge. The program hasn’t been in a good state consistently for some time,” he said.

“My message to them (Bath’s players) was very simple. I want to inject some pride and energy back into this program We’re going to get this thing corrected. I told them this was going to be a process. I told them we are going to evaluate where we have to get better but also that there are a lot of positives, a lot of good players and a lot of potential.”

White has been Upper Scioto Valley’s head coach for the last three seasons. The Rams had a 51-23 record in those three seasons and were undefeated Northwest Central Conference champions the last two years.

Before USV, he was Ada’s head coach for four seasons from 2006 to 2010 and was an assistant for two years at Allen East. He also is the director of the Team 419 AAU program, which includes seven teams and 70 players, boys and girls, from all over northwest Ohio.

He called his three seasons at Upper Scioto Valley “a fantastic situation and an incredible experience that left so many memories and relationships.”

So why leave that for the uncertainties of a program that has gone through several unsuccessful rebuilding attempts?

“There have been opportunities for me to pursue it (coaching at Bath). When it came open again this year there was that little piece within me that spoke a little louder this time,” he said.

“There are a lot of personal benefits. I’m a Bath grad. My wife and I reside in the Bath district. I’m about two minutes from Bath as opposed to about 30 minutes from Upper Scioto Valley. My wife works within the district. I have a son who is in kindergarten in the district. There are a lot of things personally that made sense.”

While he has been all in on coaching since graduating from Ohio Wesleyan, White didn’t expect to be coaching or to be in Lima when he was in college.

“Was coaching something I always thought I inevitably would do? Honestly, no it wasn’t. But I always wanted to be around basketball. I knew one way or another I was going to be around basketball,” he said.

“When I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan I was one of those who was never going to go back close to home. I didn’t think I would be back in the community where I started. And here I am, not only back home but leading a program I played in. It’s kind of funny how that panned out compared to what my initial thoughts were when I was younger.”

White thinks his time at Ada and Upper Scioto has prepared him for his new coaching assignment.

“I’ve seen being at the bottom and working up and the process it takes at Ada and I’ve been at the top and getting everyone’s best shot every night at Upper Scioto Valley,” he said.