SOLON — Monday was rough.
“It’s been horrible,” Jim White said after telling his Clear Creek Amana softball players that he was leaving to coach at Solon High School. “I met with the kids, and it was not good.
“This is extremely tough. I’ve gone through a long range of emotions.”
White, 48, coached the Clippers 18 seasons, leading them to six state championships and an 809-118 record.
CCA earned a 1A crown in 1997, reigned in 2A in 2002 and 2004, then claimed 3A titles in 2006, 2009 and 2011. His 2012 team finished 43-2 and was third in Class 4A.
“It goes without saying that we are extremely fortunate to have a coach the caliber of Jim White leading the softball program, as he’s one of the premier high school coaches in Iowa, regardless of sport,” Solon Athletics Director Keith McSweeney said Monday.
“Jim’s past teams have experienced an unprecedented level of success, but after interviewing him, it’s obvious that this success resulted from a rigorous attention to detail, a deep passion for preparation, and a positive influence on students. I’m confident that Jim’s leadership will yield a great softball experience for our girls.”
White inherits a Solon program that advanced to state each of the last two years under Ben Sorden. The Spartans were 3A state runners-up last summer.
His wife Erin coached at Solon from 2007 to 2010, leading the Spartans to a state title in ’07.
“There’s a lot of talent there,” said White, who will continue to teach at CCA as a high school physical education teacher for the time being. “With Erin’s past there, we know what the program is all about.”
Monday’s announcement was met by joy from the Solon players.
“I’m very excited,” said senior infielder Kara Misel. “I know there are only great things to come for Solon softball and I can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Said sophomore Ali Herdliska: “I’m excited we have a coach coming in with such a great reputation and passion for softball. And certainly, the fact that his teams have won so many championships makes me excited, too.”
White said he considered making the more to Solon when Erin stepped down in 2010. He also applied for the Ankeny job after the 2012 season.
“Erin and I sat down, and we didn’t want to leave this part of the state,” White said. “We asked ourselves, where do we want to be in 5-10 years? The Solon job came open, I like the opportunities it offers, and I decided to pursue it.”
The couple lives in North Liberty with their sons Brett, 7, and Brady, 5. White said the boys will open-enroll at Solon.