As a former athlete at Grove City High School, Steve White can relate to the dedication and desire of competitors in South-Western City Schools.

As a former athlete at Grove City High School, Steve White can relate to the dedication and desire of competitors in South-Western City Schools.

White now has an opportunity to help mold those athletes as the football coach at Westland. His hiring was approved at the district's board of education meeting on Jan. 24.

White, 41, is familiar with the Westland program, having served as outside linebackers coach under Brian Smith last season.

Smith resigned following the season. He was 2-28 overall and 0-19 in the OCC in three seasons.

"Brian is a good coach and he had the program going in a positive direction, and I hope I can build on that," White said.

The Cougars were 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central Division last season, with their win coming against Toledo Scott 28-0 on Sept. 10.

"As the season went on, we got better and better," White said. "It didn't always show on the scoreboard, but as coaches and players we could tell that we were getting better."

White is a 1988 graduate of Grove City, where he played two years of varsity football.

He graduated from Youngs-town State in 1996.

White's coaching experience includes serving as an assistant football coach at Grove City from 1988-93 and the freshman football coach at Youngstown Ursuline in 1994 and 1995. He returned to Grove City in 1996 and coached running backs and linebackers until 2001 then served as the program's defensive coordinator from 2002-07. He was the defensive ends coach at Olentangy Orange in that program's first year in 2008.

After not coaching in 2009, White decided to return to football last season and landed a spot on the Westland staff.

"Steve was a position coach for us (last season) and a positive influence on the sideline," athletics director Greg Burke said. "I got to see and talk with him during a football game and listen to his thoughts. When Brian resigned, it was a given that Steve was going to be a very serious candidate for us."

White hopes to promote a winning tradition at Westland using a basic football philosophy.

"We're going to play physical football, and to do that you have to run the ball," he said. "Obviously, we need to mix it up, but we want to play physical football and we're going to start off with the run. When I was at Grove City we always ran the wing-T. We're going to be multiple, but we're going to have a base of a wing-T, which brought us great success over there."

White stressed another goal is to change the mentality that Westland can't compete with other schools in the OCC.

"The plan is to compete as soon as possible," he said. "We want to start playing for OCC championships and make the playoffs, and as an assistant that's what I've been use to, so that's what my goal is."

Senior Travell Wright, an outside linebacker for the Cougars last season, served on the interview committee that helped select the new coach.

"It's a real good choice," Wright said of White. "He coached me the whole year. ... He's also a teacher in the district, so he could keep up on my grades and make sure I was keeping straight in class."

White, a social studies teacher at Grove City, hopes to eventually join the teaching staff at Westland.

"I don't know if there is anything available, but I would like to be in the building where I'm coaching at," he said.

•With only one senior, the girls basketball team is pointing to the future.

The Cougars were 0-15 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Central heading into their game against Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 28.

Westland plays host to Thomas Worthington on Friday, Feb. 4.

Logan Horn is the lone senior on the team. Coach Hugo Quint has used several freshmen, including Tanesha Dixon, Rachelle Marcum and Christina Simpson.

"This has been a good learning experience," Marcum said.

Before Jan. 28, junior Taylor Horn was the top scorer on the team at 8.5 points a game.

"We are still learning how to compete," Quint said. "We are learning that we have to play hard from the beginning of the game until the end of the game. We have had quarters where we compete, but we cannot score. Lately, we have been having one bad quarter where we cannot score. We may play defense well, but we can't buy a field goal and then that hurts our defensive effort. We're still learning on how to score with great defense on us. This will happen with a young team."