To describe Linda White as a trailblazer in the Clemson community would only scratch the surface.
The coach has made tremendous strides in her career and in the community by creating opportunities for women in sports and working closely with non-profits. Starting as a coach and transitioning into administrative roles, White’s career seems to illustrate who she is and what she is passionate about.
White began coaching and teaching at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, SC. Then in 1986, program upgrades due to Title IX requirements led to an increase in the University’s women’s sports teams. Clemson hired White as the first full-time head volleyball coach. White later became the first female senior administrator and athletic director, ensuring that women in athletics were given a platform. Her work at Clemson continued with community outreach efforts and the establishment of the Be a T.I.G.E.R! Program.
“Even though I was always in athletics, there were never opportunities for me,” White said. She wanted to make sure that her players did not face the same issues as her because there was no reason for women in sports to have unequal opportunities. White says that helping to create changes for female athletes, such as starting the first female volleyball and basketball all-star games in the state and helping to establish the South Carolina Coaches Association for Women, was the most meaningful part of her career. She also loved seeing what the young women did with their lives and careers after graduation.
White’s impact on the community changed when she started the Be a T.I.G.E.R! program, which aimed to push athletes to think about what they can do for others outside of sports. Teamwork, integrity, gratitude, education and respect are the pillars of the program. White built this program to give back to the community that gave so much to her after losing her daughter. She says that the Be a T.I.G.E.R! program “helped heal her heart.”
Outside of her role in the Be a T.I.G.E.R! program, White is involved with Helping Hands, a local foster home, as well as serving on the foundation board for the city of Clemson. When asked why she believes in the importance of giving back to your community, White said, “Each of us can have an impact on one person’s life.”
Being involved in the community makes it stronger and improves everyone’s lives. White’s favorite saying is, “Believe there is good in the world, be the good.”