I’ll get right to the point. My name is Derick White and I am a former collegiate head coach. I am also gay. I remained in the closet for my entire coaching career because of one simple factor – fear. I will explain this in more detail in a bit, but that fear kept me from having the kind of career I would have liked to have experienced.
My upbringing was typical for a young kid in the Midwest. Unconditional love from my military father and stay-at-home mother, outstanding support from my grandparents and great-grandparents, and a close bond with my brother and sisters. I was lucky to have such great relationships. But I knew that there was something different about me that I didn’t understand. It took me until I was 29 to finally admit what that was — I was gay. But in that time, I learned a lot about myself and just how strong I could be.
Life in high school was perfect on the outside. My list of accomplishments and honors read like the type of resume any university would be crazy to turn down. My life was great at first glance. I was a friendly, outgoing, thoughtful and caring person. I was that person who always aimed to please. I knew I had a good life – who wouldn’t want to be the Homecoming King? But under the surface, things were crashing down all around me. Divorce, death and health issues in my family. I didn’t know how to deal with these struggles and heartaches, so I ignored them. And it worked … temporarily.
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