Director of Athletics
The most ambitious capital improvements to athletic facilities in 20 years is about to be launched under the Vision 2039 initiative of VMI Superintendent General J.H. Binford Peay, and seventh year Athletic Director Donny White has been a guiding force in the process.
Facilities improvement is just one issue that White has tackled since taking over as AD in 1998. Upon his return, White immediately went to work addressing the challenging issues facing the VMI athletic department. At the same time, he has built support for intercollegiate athletics among the VMI community and its alumni. His effort has resulted in a change in conference affiliation, increased funding for operations, the development of women’s athletics, and a better overall competitive environment for VMI sports.
White returned to the Institute on Apr. 22, 1998, after serving six successful years as athletic director at Patrick Henry High School in Ashland, Va. White guided the school’s athletic program to unprecedented achievement both on and off the field and led the efforts to improve funding and facilities for the school’s athletic program.
White compiled a distinguished VMI coaching career in two sports spanning 15 years. He joined the football staff of Bob Thalman in 1971 as a defensive backfield coach and helped lead the Keydets to two Southern Conference Championships and a State Championship in 1977. White coached the defensive backs to a number one national ranking in 1975 and number four ranking the following season. He served as VMI co-defensive coordinator from 1976 to 1981 and had the Southern Conference’s top-ranked defense in 1977. His defensive backfields led the conference in pass defense three times. White also recruited seven football players who were selected all-conference.
In the fall of 1981, White became VMI head baseball coach and began to resurrect a program that had not won a Southern Conference game the three previous years. His 1982 debut squad compiled six league wins and White was named Southern Conference Co-Coach of the Year. His teams won 85 games in six years and his 1987 squad reached the Southern Conference championship game. At that time, White also taught on the Physical Education staff as an assistant professor.
White entered private business in 1987, but returned to the athletic ranks in 1992 when he accepted the athletic director postion at Patrick Henry. White supervised all areas of the Patriot athletic program and helped improve facilities, season ticket sales, and booster club membership. The football program reached the ranks of the state’s elite, winning 57 of 65 games, five district titles, four regional titles, a state runner-up trophy, and the state AAA, Division 5 championship in 1994.
White is a 1965 graduate of VMI with a B.S. degree in civil engineering. As a cadet, he was a Distinguished Military Student, named Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and was awarded the Pres. Brown Athletic Cup for excellence. White co-captained the 1964 VMI football team and was selected All-Southern Conference in baseball for three consecutive years as a shortstop while also leading the team in batting. He was inducted into the VMI Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
After graduation from VMI, White was commissioned as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. His decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. White and his wife, Bettie reside in Lexington.