NEW LENOX – Jon White proved something important as Lincoln-Way West’s boys basketball coach the past two seasons.
“Part of becoming a head coach was to prove to myself I belonged,” White, 31, said. “I’m so proud, me and my staff, that we are leaving the program in better shape than we found it.”
Now it’s time to show his family how important they are.
White stepped down after this season to be the dad and husband he wants to be. He will continue teaching health education and physical education at West and may be an assistant at another area school.
“I am not done coaching,” he said. “I’m just not going to be a head coach until my son [Mason, who turns 2 next week] is in school.
“My wife [Jenny] teaches at JJC, so she has those college hours. It’s not fair to her if I’m a head coach, which is a year-round thing. So I’m stepping back. But I will be back.”
The Whites also have a daughter, Hannah, who is 9.
“As a head coach, I’m always away,” White said. “I’ll get home from school and Mason grabs my clipboard and says, ‘bye-bye.’ He thinks I’m leaving whenever he sees it.”
White already has gotten a couple of offers to be an assistant, both inside and outside the Lincoln-Way district. The certainty is he will not coach at West to be fair to players and coaches returning, although he said the new coach will have his full support.
West won three games in White’s first season and improved to 12-14 this season, including 7-7 and a fourth-place finish in the SouthWest Suburban Red. The Warriors entered the Class 3A Plano Regional as the No. 1 seed but lost to Joliet Catholic, 70-51, in the semifinals.
“The kids who will be back have a great work ethic, and there’s a lot of younger talent in the program,” White said. “Whoever takes over will have talent to work with.”
Point guard Marco Pettinato started all games as a freshman. Jon and Anthony Marotta will return, along with Max Petrungaro. The sophomore team finished in the first division of the conference with four freshman starters.
White will take pride in whatever success the Warriors enjoy the next few seasons. He and his staff have jump-started a program.
Now, however, more pressing matters demand his attention.