ALBANY — Albany State football coach Mike White sat just outside of his team’s locker room last November and glanced at one of the small signs that had dotted the crowd only minutes before.
“100th Win! Go Coach White,” the sign read.
White looked up from the poster after the Rams’ season-ending 38-20 loss to Fort Valley State in the Fountain City Classic and said with little hesitation that he hadn’t even thought about falling short of the century mark in the aftermath of the loss.
Nearly a year later, White is still sitting on win No. 99.
And as the Rams prepare for Saturday’s season opener against North Greenville, White’s 100th win remains an afterthought for the 14-year head coach.
“Somebody showed me a sign after the Fort Valley sign where they were saying, ‘Coach White 100th Victory.’ I remember the sign, but it’s not anything I have been thinking about,” White said. “When you are playing Fort Valley, you are disappointed you lost. It had nothing to do with the 100th victory then.”
White’s career record is 99-44 since taking over the program in 2000, but he is a coming off his worst year — a 2012 season when the Rams went 6-4 and missed the Division II playoffs — in a decade.
Win No. 100 would be nice Saturday but so would bouncing back from last year’s disappointments.
“It would be nice to get 100 here because it will be our next game,” White said. “It would have been nice then and would be nice now.
“It means that we won the next game. It’s not like they have promised to give me a bonus when I get to my hundredth win or anything. I would just like to see us improve and get a win.”
Win No. 100 crept up on White in recent years, and he didn’t even become aware of the pending milestone until the end of the 2011 season when ASU’s band director mentioned it to him.
“Near the end of the year during a pregame, the band director walked up to me and said, ‘Hey coach, you know you are getting close to 100,’ ” White said. “That’s really when it was first brought to my attention.”
Since then it’s become a milestone that everybody associated with the program has been eager to share with White.
“It’s a legacy that he is building,” offensive coordinator Steve Smith said. “For him to get win No. 100 and to be here for 30 years, I respect the man very much and want to help him get more than 100. We want to make sure he gets everything he deserves, and he deserves a lot.”