Professor Darin White, executive director of Samford University’s Center for Sports Analytics, was inducted into Union University’s prestigious Sports Hall of Fame in April 2023. A visionary leader and accomplished soccer coach, White was honored for helping start the men's soccer program at Union and leading his team to victory in the 2003 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship. White was the first men’s soccer player or coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
White, who joined Union University in 1994 as a faculty member in the McAfee School of Business, was instrumental in establishing the men's soccer program from scratch. Through his unwavering commitment, hard work and exceptional coaching skills, he built a formidable team that quickly gained national recognition.
His career college coaching record was 94-64-9. His teams were nationally ranked in the top 20 of the NAIA six times in eight years and his 2003 team won the NCCAA National Championship. Later that year he was named Adidas NAIA south region Coach of the Year at the National Soccer Coaches Convention.
White stepped away from coaching college soccer in 2005 to focus on his seven children's soccer teams. In 2006 he became the founding director of coaching for the Tennessee Rush Soccer Club (aka Lobos Rush) in Memphis, Tennessee. In the years that followed, his teams advanced to the state championship finals 13 times in 15 years, winning nine state championships.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to be inducted into the Union University Sports Hall of Fame," White said. "This would not have been possible with the support of my wife, Laura, which allowed me to pursue my passion for coaching college soccer. Without her selflessness, at a time when we had seven young children, I would not be where I am today. I am forever grateful for her love and commitment."
At Samford, in addition to his role with the Center for Sports Analytics, White is the Margaret Gage Bush Distinguished Professor of Business in Brock School of Business. He launched Samford’s sports marketing and analytics program in 2011 and the program is now considered among the very best programs in the nation by leading sports industry experts. White’s students have gone on to have successful sports business careers with dozens of professional and college sports teams including the Houston Texans, Portland Trailblazers, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Falcons, Charlotte Panthers, Tampa Bay Rays, and many others.
White added, “In the book of Proverbs it says, ‘The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.’ This has certainly been true over the course of my career. In 1998, as a marketing professor at Union, my career took a completely unexpected turn when I was offered the opportunity to be the founding coach for the men's soccer program. All during those years I wondered to myself why God had placed me in these two seemingly unrelated jobs—teaching marketing in the business school and coaching a college soccer team. Eleven years later it finally became clear that God had all along been ‘establishing my steps’ when He opened the door for my family to move to back home to Birmingham to start one of the first programs in sports marketing and analytics in the nation at Samford. My time coaching and teaching at Union laid the foundation for our Center for Sports Analytics and the success we have experienced over the last decade because it gave me the credibility to have a trusted voice within the sports industry.”