Tony Joe White was named the Panthers head football coach mid-November of 2016, becoming the sixth head coach in program history, and third since the program resumed in 2007 at the NCAA Division III level.
In his inaugural season, White took the Panthers from a last place finish to sixth in the Southern Athletic Association. Each side of the ball ranked nationally, but their special teams were one of the best in the country, ranking 16th in punt return defense and 22nd in blocked punts. Under White in 2017, Panthers accounted for 13 SAA All-Conference nods, the most since 2012. The group was headlined by three-time Special Teams Player of the Year Jamal Watkins who went on to earned D3football.com All-South Region honors. Watkins was one of 10 Panthers who also ranked nationally in individual categories. His players also excelled academically in 2017. Matthew Byers was named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic First-Team All-District after earning a 3.85 cumulative GPA as a biology major on the pre-med track.
White was previously the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Centre College. Under White’s guidance, the Colonel offense has broken program total yard records every season since 2013, finishing 2016 with 5,086 yards to rank 13th nationally for total offense. They are also ranked top 20 in NCAA Division III in six other offensive categories and finished the season in third place in the Southern Athletic Association.
Centre compiled 500-plus yards of offense in nine games 2015-16 under White, with 12 of at least 400 yards. They picked up 703 yards in a 66-28 win at Rhodes in 2016. The Colonels finished top 20 in NCAA Division III in total offense in 2015 as well, with quarterback Heath Haden setting program career records in passing yards (8,872), passing touchdowns (68), and total yards (10,623).
In 2013, White led the Colonels to five single-game records, two single-season records, and Haden led the SAA in passing yards per game and completions. The ground game balanced White’s offense, producing back-to-back seasons of 1,000-yard rushers in 2013-14.
Prior to his tenure at Centre, White was the quarterbacks coach at Belhaven University (Miss.), where his quarterbacks led the nation in pass offense in 2006 with 343 yards per game and scored more than 32 points per game. In 2007, White’s quarterbacks threw for more than 350 yards per game, finished second in the country in pass offense and averaged 33 points per game.
White spent the 2005 season coaching at Brownsboro High School in East Texas. He also coached at FCS Southeast Missouri State University from 2000-04. The SEMO offense averaged more than 410 yards per game in the five seasons White was there. He was also the special teams coordinator at SEMO and annually had some of the top kicking units in the Ohio Valley Conference. White also coached at Southwest Baptist University from 1998-99 and was a graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech University (1997).
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in exercise and sports science with a minor in political science from Texas State University in San Marcos in 1997. White was a quarterback at Texas A&M University–Commerce from 1991-93.
He, and his wife Meredith, have two children, Emily and Tucker.