White tackles life-sized hopes and dreams
By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
The talent for Washington native Frank T. White took him from the gridiron to the courtroom to the pulpit.
Reflecting on his divergent path to the ministry, the jock-turned-attorney-turned Rev. White says the twists and turns in the road were really not all that surprising. For most of his life — from humble beginnings to humble service — he fought for his hopes but put his faith first.
And that faith served him well in courts and sports.
At Washington High School, White was a football and track star.
During White’s years at the prep level, Washington was a grades 10-12 high school.
White played all three years and lettered in both sports. He briefly held the school’s record in the 800 meter race and went on to take a turn with the pigskin at the collegiate level.
After a season, injuries forced him to redirect his focus from athletics to academics.
White graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and went on to law school at N.C. Central University.
He practiced law before transitioning to ministerial work full time.
White says he still does some legal consulting, specializing in corporate law with an emphasis on nonprofit law.
Pam Pack track and field running mate Bruce Watson kept White on course. Upon going off to college, White befriended people “seeking similar things, so that I would stay focused on doing what I needed to do to get out,” he says.
Graduating was top priority for White.
He graduated high school in the top 10 percent of his class.
Sports prepared him for leadership.
A 1985 Washington High graduate, White went on to play football at Elon College. The following season, Clemson University recruited him, but those old injuries cropped up and prevented him from playing at that level.
White played through the pain of a nagging shoulder injury at Elon.
White transferred to UNCG, where he received an undergraduate pre-law degree in 1989.
White says the Pam Pack had a “very well respected” squad during his years on the team, going 9-1 in his sophomore year and 7-3 in his junior year.
White played offensive tackle and defensive end.
Bing Mitchell was Pam Pack’s head coach at the time.
That third game of the season White’s senior year, the team won the game but it came at a price.
The Pack beat Roanoke with the help of White’s 16 tackles.
White says one of his most memorable moments was a single block he threw on a barreling linebacker. With that key block from White, the Pack’s star running back found a hole and ran 80 yards for a touchdown.
As a track-and-fielder, White ran the mile and the half-mile.
He says he was a pace runner. The half-mile run, as White describes it, is “mid-strength the whole way with a kick.”
In his senior year, he received the Mr. Track award.
Growing up in the small-town community fostered his sports career, White says. “There weren’t too many cars, so you could run in the street to practice, and there were enough fields to play sandlot. My coaches through the years were very patient, took time to teach me my positions. I was fundamentally sound because there was always an emphasis on fundamentals. When you combined that with natural ability, that gave you an edge.”
White lists another motivator for his sports career: his youngest brother, who White describes as a scrapper and a survivor despite some health problems.
White currently lives in Raleigh with his wife and two children. White says he still runs two to three miles a day.
He is also active in a church basketball league.
Antioch Bible Fellowship in Garner is the church that White helped found.
White’s mother and brother still live in Beaufort County.
Another fond high school memory for White came the last week of school.