Athletics Director Alan White announces retirement

Elon University Director of Athletics Alan White, one of the nation's longest-serving and most respected leaders in collegiate sports, will retire at the end of the current academic year. Details...

White, who has held several positions in Elon athletics over 35 years of service, made the announcement at a news conference held Sept. 26 on the Elon campus.

>>Listen to an audio recording of the news conference.

Under White’s leadership, Elon’s athletics program has maintained a strong tradition of success, while evolving from NAIA membership, through NCAA Division II, to the current NCAA Division I affiliation as a member of the Southern Conference. During White’s tenure, Elon has won 53 conference titles, 12 conference Excellence Awards, including eight in a row from 1990 to 1997, and four national championships. Elon teams have produced more than 500 all-conference players and have produced hundreds of awards for academic excellence by student-athletes.

“My 35-year professional experience at Elon University could not have been more rewarding,” White said. “It has been a distinct honor and privilege to have served under the direction of three outstanding presidents, Dr. Earl Danieley, Dr. Fred Young and Dr. Leo Lambert. I am equally appreciative of the positive direction and energetic support provided by Provost Gerry Francis with whom I have worked closely during the last decade. The leadership, planning and support for quality enhancements in programs and facilities has been excellent, and the transformation of this institution during my association has been truly remarkable. I consider myself most fortunate to have been a part of this progressive institution.

“Our athletics program has been engaged in this forward movement as well, and I am extremely pleased and proud for our student athletes, coaches and staff for their patience, sacrifices and efforts during this last 15 years of almost continual transitions of regional and national affiliations. I am confident that our program will continue to flourish and I look forward to cheering their success,” White said.

“Alan White has set a national standard for excellence in collegiate athletics during his long career at Elon,” said President Leo M. Lambert. “His influence extended beyond athletics. As a member of the senior staff, Alan has been a key part of Elon’s leadership team for three decades, providing wise counsel. He is known for his integrity, strong values and caring concern as a mentor and role model for the young men and women who have participated in our athletics programs. Those student-athletes learned invaluable life lessons from Alan, and his strong influence has been felt in the lives of thousands of Elon alumni. What a remarkable legacy he leaves for future generations!”

Well-respected by his peers, White was recently named NCAA Division I-AA/I-AAA Southeast Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He received the 1989 NAIA National Athletics Administrator of the Year Award, was named the NAIA District 26 Athletics Administrator of the Year five times and was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1993. White served as president of the NAIA Athletics Directors Association and the South Atlantic Conference.

White directed a major renovation of Elon’s athletics facilities over the past decade, building a complex that is the envy of schools across the nation. His hard work and leadership led to the design and construction of Rhodes Stadium, Belk Track, Latham Park for baseball, Jimmy Powell Tennis Center, Rudd Field for soccer, Koury Field House and the full renovation and expansion of Koury Center. Rhodes Stadium was designated as a 2003 Facility of Merit by Athletic Business.

A former football student-athlete, White earned his bachelor’s degree and sports headlines as an All-ACC running back at Wake Forest University. He received his master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate from Mississippi State University. He first came to Elon as an assistant football coach in 1964 and moved to Mississippi State University in 1967 as a football assistant. White returned to Elon in 1974, serving as an assistant professor and later as chair of the physical education department. He was named Elon’s 19th director of athletics in August 1979.

The field at Irwin Belk Track in Elon’s athletics complex was named in honor of White and his wife, Norma, by their good friends Jerry and Jeanne Robertson, Burlington, who made a major gift to fund construction of the field.

Active in the local community, White has served as president and board member of Alamance Rotary Club, been on the board of directors for the Alamance County YMCA and served 12 years on the Alamance County Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners.

Lambert has appointed Elon University Provost Gerald Francis to chair a committee that will conduct a national search for White’s successor. The committee will include trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, coaches and student athletes.