By Joseph Staszewski
Kerri White believes she is ready to be a head coach and St. Francis Prep thinks so, too.
The former Terriers girls’ basketball assistant coach and Archbishop Molloy standout was recently promoted to lead the SFP program. She replaces Kevin Wagner, who resigned this spring after one season because of concerns over time constraints as he and his wife look to have kids.
The 24-year-old White was the school’s top choice as long as her graduate school schedule allowed her to fully commit to coaching, according to Athletic Director Sal Fischetti. Despite being the youngest coach in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I, she thinks she can handle the task at hand despite her age and limited coaching background because of her basketball background.
“Just because I wasn’t coaching, I’ve been around basketball my whole life,” she said.
White comes from one of Queens’ best hoops families. Her father Kevin played his college ball at Fordham and coached at Mary Louis and with the NYC Heat travel team. Her older brother Kevin and sister Erin played at St. Francis Prep.
Kerri White was a hardworking and undersized forward who helped her Archbishop Molloy team end Christ the King’s 23-year reign over CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens in 2008.
“She a model,” Fischetti said. “It is one of the things I look for, someone who is going to help model these kids.”
She played her college ball at Pace, was a graduate assistant on Pace’s coaching staff and has been helping her dad with the NYC Heat for the past five years.
Former Terriers Coach JoAnn Wagner will be on the bench with her and White is still looking for another assistant.
“She has probably been to three million games in her life,” her father Kevin White said. “She’s a really smart kid. She understands what has to happen to get the program to where it needs to be.”
Hiring White helps St. Francis Prep maintain consistency in the program since she was around the team last year. The Terriers are looking to foster the growth of a strong core of players going into their junior year. White plans on building around the blue-collar work ethic and tough defensive mentality SFP has prided itself and tweak a few things here and there.
“The girls know me, so I think it’s easier with me being around,” she said. “It’s not coming in and it’s a whole new thing. I think they feel the same way.”
St. Francis Prep rising sophomore forward Sofia Recupero said she and her teammates were relieved when they found out White was hired. They worried about starting over with a new coach. They respect White and trust in her knowledge of the game.
“She knows what she is talking about and always tried to help everyone,” Recupero said. “She is very supportive. She knows when it’s time to fool around and when it’s time to get to business. I’m happy that she is coaching us.”