There was never any doubt who was going to succeed Bill Workman as the football coach at Edison High School.
Dave White was the man. After all, he was the starting quarterback in Workman’s first game as the Chargers’ coach in 1973. He later served as an assistant to Workman for seven years, handling both the offense and defense at various times.
If Tom Lasorda bleeds Dodger blue, than Dave White bleeds Charger green. He married his high school sweetheart, Sue, and named his first child, Matthew, after the late Matt Hombs, captain of the freshmen team that White first coached at Edison in 1979. Hombs died in an automobile accident while on a recruiting trip in Idaho in 1983.
Edison athletic director Lyman Clower said he never received a phone call inquiring about the job at Edison when Workman announced he was leaving the school to become the head coach at Orange Coast College. The coaching fraternity apparently knew White was the one.
It’s almost as if White was destined to become a lifetime Charger. He was set to become a graduate assistant at Oregon State in 1979 when Workman and his family visited him in Corvallis that summer.
“Bill offered me the job as the head freshman coach with a permanent substitute teaching job and I jumped at it,” White said. “Bill let me do a lot of things through the years and delegated a lot of authority to me.”
And why not? White is a winner. He lost only five games in four years as a quarterback at Edison. At Orange Coast, he led the Pirates to the national community college championship in 1975 by passing for 2,897 yards and 22 touchdowns.
White got a taste of adversity in two seasons at Oregon State when the Beavers struggled. It was a time of adjustment for him.
“I went up there after the (fall) semester at Orange Coast for spring football and didn’t see the sun for three months,” White said. “It was the first time I had been away from home and I hated it.
“After four games, I called Bill Workman and told him I wasn’t having any fun. We talked about my options, and I decided to stick it out. Two games later, our quarterback got hurt and I started the remainder of the season.”
White’s favorite receiver at Oregon State was Steve Coury, whose father, Dick, was formerly the coach at Mater Dei and is currently the Rams’ quarterback coach. White spent some of his spare time working out with Steve and talking football with his father.
“I learned a lot about football from Dick Coury,” White said. “I spent hours talking with him about football. I think he knew I was going to be a coach someday.”
White, 30, said his tenure as the defensive coordinator at Edison the past four years was an enlightening experience.
“Coaching the defense made me a better offensive coach,” he said. “I learned how to stop the passing game and discovered what fooled me offensively. I came to realize that there are some plays out there that I can’t stop.”
White played for three coaches and said Workman has been the biggest influence on his career. He said Workman’s strength was working with players.
“He’s not the best coach when it comes to the X’s and O’s, but he’s enthusiastic and honest with his players,” White said. “He truly loves the game and cares about his players.
“When I played for Bill, I gave everything I had for him, and that’s what I want from my players now that I’m the coach.”
Workman has a mutual respect for White.
“Even when Dave was a player, I knew he was going to be a coach,” Workman said. “I hired him because he’s a winner and it comes through loud and clear. He demands respect and hard work and communicates so well with the players.”