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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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A day in the life: Head Coach Jaime White

She doesn’t sit on game day, she stands on business.

If athletes are primarily known to be the face of a team, then Fresno State women’s basketball Head Coach Jaime White is the backbone.

White allowed The Collegian to follow her around on Nov. 10 as Fresno State took on the University of California, Merced, showing us what being a head coach on game day is like. 

“To be honest, it was a lot easier as a player,” says White, who played collegiate basketball at Utah Valley University. “You could run, you could work harder, you could rebound, you know, you could physically do most things, but as a coach, you’re not able to control that.”

The life of a head coach can be filled with stress, bringing on feelings of anticipation before a game, not knowing what the outcome will be. 

A coach also has extra pressure as a play-caller, making substitutions and creating strategies for the better success of the team.  

A significant part of White’s job is to watch film on the team’s opponents. She watches three to five games of the opposing team, which can take several hours. It is usually done two days before with assistant coaches and then presented to the team a day before game day.

“Film has been everything. It just helps you see the actual thing that is going to happen,” White says.

On the day of the UC Merced game, White begins her morning at 5 a.m. with a workout to give time to herself. She tries to stay consistent with her morning workouts five times a week. 

“It just helps me kind of focus, or not focus and just not think of anything and work out, take care of myself, have good energy,” White says.

White starts shoot around practice at 1 p.m. at the Save Mart Center. (Alexis Bruno/The Collegian)

After, White holds a shoot around at 1 p.m. with the players and other coaches at the Save Mart Center to get prepped for game time. This is only one of many warm-ups the team has before the game. 

At this first practice, players focus on sharpening their shots as White intently watches.

“Hands up!” she calls out.

 When they are finished with shoot around, White drives home to put on an all-black suit and straightens her hair to complete her game day look. 

She makes her way back to the Save Mart Center within about an hour and a half before the game to further prepare. 

White stays in the locker room to continue to watch film and write down notes on a whiteboard while the team does their second warm-up of the day. She also uses this time to keep or change plays.  

“The coaches kind of know to [let] me be and they have to go out and warm the girls up and so that’s when I get everything ready,” White says. 

Minutes before the game, which begins at 6 p.m., a final locker room meeting is held with the team where White goes over all of her whiteboard notes and last-minute tactics. After sharing the game plan, White huddles with her team before walking out of the locker room.

After all the preparation, it is now time for the game.

“It’s not calm at all. It’s like urgent and intense out there,” White says.

In the opening quarter against UC Merced, White paces back and forth alongside the bench, occasionally shouting directions to the players.      

Unlike many other coaches, White consults with her coaching staff at every timeout to gain multiple perspectives before passing on the game plan to the team.

White shouts advice to her players from the sideline during the game. (Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian)

She never sits down, even when the Bulldogs have pulled ahead to a commanding lead. 

Because it is a less competitive game — the final score is 100-47 — White has the opportunity to substitute her starting five players with others.

When the clock hits zero, White and her team shake hands with the opposing players and then line up midcourt to sing the Fresno State fight song. 

To end the day, she interacts with fans and does post-game interviews with local media. She’s done by 7:40 p.m.

The life of a head coach often comes with a great amount of responsibility, stress and pressure that is often overlooked with countless amount of hours being put in before, during and after a game. 

After 15 hours, another game day is complete. 

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