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White's Move To Memphis Highlights Issues In Filling Coach Positions

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White's Move To Memphis Highlights Issues In Filling Coach Positions

It's a University of Memphis maul.

Blake White's departure from Arkansas State and move to University of Memphis was a bit of a surprise, but perhaps the additional surprise was that one wasn't naturally going to follow the other.

White left Arkansas State before he had any coaching position confirmed elsewhere. (This is known in Mary Tyler Moore terms as firing the older sportscaster before you hire the new sportscaster.) White did that because he needed to be closer to his home, With his wife working in Memphis, White was commuting 2 hours to Jonesboro, Ark. to coach at ASU. 

The myth that college rugby scholarships are all full rides that make college free (they don't) has a partner myth that college rugby coaches are all paid a lot of money. Many are not. And the cost and time to get to Jonesboro for White was mitigated by the players he enjoyed coaching, but it was time to find something else.

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As it turned out, White did get a coaching opportunity, as the alumni-supported Memphis program has some money to support a coach (although he's got to do some work to get more). 

"There's a lot of energy and passion in Memphis," added White. "They've got some strong programs and talent pool with MICR, Germantown, and Christian Brothers. They have some internal leadership strengths which I'm impressed with, and I am going to enjoy coaching a different level."

White said he will always remain a Red Wolf. 

"I played at ASU and I am an alum and will always support them," he said. "This was just the right move for my family."

The move, however, highlights a bit of an issue for some of even the top rugby programs in the country. The home towns of these colleges are sometimes somewhat remote (Ellensburg, Wash., Jonesboro, Ark., Kutztown, Pa., Wheeling, WV, Baton Rouge, La.) and so if you're looking to be a professional rugby coach there for a long period, you often have to make sure you have a backup plan. If the position doesn't pay a lot (and many of those teams don't), then filling a vacant position can be difficult.

Add to that the additional pressures of life—family, your spouse's job, and the fact that rugby coaches rarely get promoted to super-special titanium diamond-encrusted coaches—and you will see a few more shifts over the coming years.