JACKSON (WJTV) – Gwen White is the only woman in the 2015 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame class, a feeling she knows all too well.
“I’m used to being the only lady,” White said. “That’s just part of my job.”
White’s induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame caps off a 51-year coaching career that was built off of being a pioneer for women’s sports.
“When I was coaching, I was the only woman that ever attended any of the coaching conventions because there weren’t any other women coaches,” White said. “The main thing was to promote girls sports. Everybody tried to discourage me because they said women don’t coach. That’s just not a woman’s field.”
White certainly proved a woman could not only be in the field, but thrive in a career that spanned from stops at Belhaven University to Northwest Rankin and Clinton High School.
She won 79 percent of her games as a high school basketball coach along with an AAU national basketball championship and state championships in three different sports: basketball, tennis and track.
“Now I think I got a lot more women to start going into coaching and that’s great,” White said. “I hope I played a part in that happening.”
White started AAU girls track and basketball in Mississippi and the first female basketball camp in the state. With recent highlights like the United States Women’s National Soccer Team winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Becky Hammon leading the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team to a championship and the Arizona Cardinals hiring Jen Welter for their coaching staff, she loves the progress that’s been made for women in sports.
“I think about that all the time,” White said. “I just can’t believe how far young ladies have come in the state. It’s unreal.”
But on Saturday night, she got to be the only woman again for something that means so much to her.
“Anyone involved in sports in the state of Mississippi, in any shape or form, the highest honor for them would be to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” White said.