Taylor University is rare in more ways than one
“It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty stinkin’ special,” said Interim Track and Field Head Coach Quinn White.
Why is it so special to White? That’s a question with a lot of answers.
While White is only the interim coach of the men’s and women’s track teams, he has been coaching here for nearly a decade. The 2019-20 season is his 10th season coaching women’s cross country, his 10th season on staff with the women’s track and field program, his first season coaching the men’s cross country team and the 2nd season he has taken over the head of the track and field program as interim coach.
Along with currently coaching four major varsity teams at Taylor, he is also the only coach who is a full-time teacher, having been an education professor longer than a coach.
How does he balance his time and responsibilities? He’s not entirely sure.
“I don’t know if I do balance it,” White said. “It’s challenging. The university has helped a lot this year especially.”
His previous experience as an interim coach allowed him to prepare for this stint. Along with that, former Head Coach Rod Waters was able to notify the school and prepare for an eventual resignation. Those two factors led to White having a peace about adding one more thing to his already busy plate.
He mentioned his assistant coach, Haley Gimre, who has taken care of a lot of the team operations.
Gimre is also White’s daughter. On top of that, every member of his immediate family has strong ties to Taylor. He has two sons currently studying here, and he met his wife here while they were undergrads.
“My life was changed here,” White said. “I found happiness here, I found my calling. I think God just needed to get me here, and he just bundled all of (my responsibilities) together and gave me this gift.”
White thought he was done coaching when he initially came to Taylor’s Upland campus in 2006. He had coached Van Wert High School’s cross country team in Ohio while working at Taylor’s former Fort Wayne campus, and he had coached cross country at other schools while he was an elementary teacher.
He had done a few athletic missions events during his early years at Taylor, and when the women’s program opened up in 2010, White felt called into it.
White has had tremendous success as a coach. He’s been named Crossroads Coach of the Year six times. He’s had undefeated seasons. He’s been close to winning a national title.
He still makes sure to balance the success on the course and track with making sure he’s there for his students and athletes, and that he’s not just producing success, but a culture.
“Being a professor and a coach is a lot like me being an elementary teacher and a coach,” he said. “Coaching and teaching have always been a part of my life.”
White has a heart for all ages of young people. He can reach them through both coaching and teaching.
When brought the idea of transitioning to interim coach, he was open to it because he knew the easier the transition was for him and Waters, the easier it would be for the athletes.
“I genuinely have a peace about it,” White said. “And you know, it’s about making sure the athletes have the best opportunities they can and to make things as smooth and successful for them that I could.”
White said the most enjoyable part of his jobs is being able to invest in both students and athletes. He helps his students prepare for the calling they have. He invites his athletes over once a month to his office to just talk about life, not anything on the track or the course.
His walls, decorated in various awards earned by his athletes and filled with children’s books, show both sides of his work. His pride when pointing out the various athletes who won those awards and pointing out the books he loans to his education majors show his passion for his callings.
Whereas many people may see the success he’s had as a coach and wonder, why stay at Taylor, White knows this is where he’s supposed to be, and it shows.