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Celebrate 50 Years of Berry/Hoover Football-Article on Stan White
October 3, 2012Hoover High School
Stan the Man-The White Knight Buccaneer
By Wayne Wood
The Buccaneer football program has a tradition of great quarterbacks through its 50 years of existence. Several signed college scholarships while others were content with the high school contributions they made as a Buc. One of the great all-time QB's was Stan White who played for Bob Finley from 1985-1988.
Stan began his athletic days in the Bessemer area near Hoover playing youth sports before taking his skills to Davis Junior High School where his teams went unbeaten both in 1983 and 1984. His older brothers, Pat and Roger, played for Bessemer's Jess Lanier High School and it was expected that Stan would follow. However, when he was going into the 9th grade, Jess Lanier's offense was operating out of the wishbone offense which didn't suit the passing talents of the youngster. So he and his parents decided to move to Hoover where he could play for Bob Finley's Berry Bucs where his skills could be better utilized. He left many old friends but would gain several new ones beginning that season of 1985.
During his sophomore season of 1986, Stan was the backup quarterback behind a highly touted senior transfer from Mobile. However, the Bucs struggled to an early 0-4 record and continued to do into the 5th game of the year against Mountain Brook on the road. At halftime, Finley decided to go with his young backup who was untested against varsity play.
The young skinny White did not disappoint as he led the Bucs from behind to gain a 24-17 win for the season's first victory. Though they won 3 of their 5 remaining games the record was a unhappy 4-6. The season of 1987 had high expectations with a strong senior class but finished 6-4 though Stan made much improvement as a player.
Going into the 1988 season, the Bucs returned a few defensive starters. The offense returned only 2 and one of those was moved to the defense leaving Stan as the only returning starter with several untested sophomores and inexperienced players to try and score points for the Bucs. The season began with 2 road losses against talented opponents.
The 3rd game was at Legion Field against a very talented Birmingham-Parker squad. The far less talented Bucs achieved a great 17-14 win and won the next week as well. Though they played poorly the next week losing to an inspired Pelham team, the Bucs rebounded the following week in beating rival Vestavia 34-7 in the first football game played at the then new Hoover Met (now Regions Park). The Bucs won their remaining 4 regular season games.
Going into the playoffs for the first time since 1982, the Stan White-led Bucs had momentum. After winning their first 3 games, the Bucs faced Minor-a team they'd lost to in the 2nd game of the year. They achived a tremendous 21-17 win over the Tigers and the right to play in the state championship game at Legion Field.
Though the Bucs lost big to Vigor of Mobile (one of the most talented teams in state history), the loss didn't diminish from the fact that this group of over-achievers left a legacy in Buc history. Coach Finley later gave a newspaper quote in referring to Stan. "I've coached some very fine athletes and I know there were times when we really depended on a few outstanding players to pull us through. You take Stan White for example. He actually made me look like a pretty good coach. Some players you can teach and refine their skills to become great. Stan was the exception. He came direct from the factory, equipped with everything necessary, including quick reflexes and a great athletic mind."
Stan gained several all-star honors and was highly recruited before signing with Auburn University. He redshirted his first year of 1989. In 1990, he became the starting QB as a redshirt freshman and eventually started for 45 straight games through his senior year of 1993. His final college season was special as the Tigers went 11-0 and he was named permanent captain. Stan finished his career as Auburn's all-time leading passer with 8016 yards and was later named to Auburn's Team of the Decade for the 1990's. (In fact, at one point in time later he and former Buc John Parker Wilson who years afterward played at rival Alabama both held certain passing records at their respective colleges).
Stan was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1994 and remained with the team until 1997 when he was allocated by the Giants to the WLAF London Monarchs for a year. In 1998, he returned home to the Birmingham area. Although he played college and pro football, Stan still regards his high school days as a Buccaneer as very special and one game in the particular-the Minor game in the 1988 state playoff semi-finals which Berry won 21-17 his senior year.
He explained, "The semi-final game at Finley Stadium that 1988 year was one of the most exciting games that Berry fans and players have ever been a part of. Against a superior team that manhandled us earlier in the year, we were able to come back and score a late touchdown against Minor to go to the state championship game. I've played against Alabama four times. I've played in Giants Stadium and every NFL stadium in the league, but that game against Minor will always be one of the most precious memories I'll ever have."
Stan also attributes much to his former Buccaneer coach Bob Finley. "I've had the great fortune to have been coached and been involved with many respected people not only in our community but in the entire country. People such as Pat Dye, Pat Sullivan, Dan Reeves and Tony Dungy just to name a few. Coach Bob Finley has as much or more than an impact on me than any other coach I was involved with. His incredible work ethic, attention to detail and sincerity towards his players showed what Bob Finley was made of."
Stan now serves as owner of a State Farm Insurance and Financial Services Agency in the Birmingham area and lives in Hoover where he supports his old Buccaneer football program. He also serves as the radio color commentator for the Auburn University Football Network during the football season and has made several appearances around the state and South as a public speaker.
Stan White was a vital part of a long list of Buccaneer greats who went on to success in college and life afterwards. GO BUCS!