3…2…1…! As the buzzer sounded, the Pace Academy varsity boys basketball team, led by head coach Sharman White, won the state championship on March 11 at the Macon Coliseum, defeating Columbia High School 73-42. Coach White, who has been at Pace for two years, has won back-to-back championships with this team. “It’s a great feeling because it is a testament to the buy-in of our players of a new culture and their commitment to the culture itself,” he said. “We didn’t just want to have a great team, we wanted to have a great program. I couldn’t think of a more deserving group of young men.”
The team’s successes this year, including a 28-1 record, resulted in an invitation to the elite Geico Nationals Tournament, where Pace was one of only 10 teams to compete at the national level in Ft. Myers, Florida, March 31-April 4. The Knights were also ranked 13th this season in ESPN’s High School Top 25.
By the end of the season, White had earned numerous Coach of the Year awards, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s All Metro Atlanta/South Fulton Coach of the Year award, the AJC State Class AA Coach of the Year award, and the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Pinholster Coach of the Year award.
Sophomore Davis Rice played under Coach White on the varsity roster this year. After winning the state championship, Rice reflected on their season and triumphs. “He is an influential man who pushes you to be better, and his motivating attitude guided the team to the championship,” he said.
Before arriving at Pace Academy to become associate athletic director and head coach for boys varsity basketball, Coach White previously coached at GHSA Class AAAAA Miller Grove High School, Georgia State University, and for USA Basketball. At Miller Grove, he successfully led the team to a whopping seven state championships in his 10 years there. He ended his coaching tenure with a record of 264-47, and was honored by Miller Grove naming its basketball court after him. Today, it is known as the “Sharman White Court,” and he describes it as “a surreal feeling.” Coach White was named National High School Association Coach of the Year in 2016.
Also in 2016, Coach White decided to shift gears, leaving Miller Grove for an assistant coaching job at Georgia State University. Although his entire coaching experience was remarkable at GSU, one accomplishment especially stands out to Coach White. “The best memory besides having great relationships with the players, coaches and staff was to go to win the Sun Belt conference tournament and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament,” he said. “It was exciting as well as an awesome fulfillment as a coach.”
Not only has Coach White coached college and high school basketball teams, but he also played an instrumental role in developing USA basketball, having coached there for eight years. Founded in 1974, USA Basketball functions as a non-profit organization. Coach White mentors players from across the country, with his U16 and U17 teams winning gold medals in 2015 and 2019. Coach White was named ALL-USA Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year in 2014. Coach White also served as a court coach for the USA Men’s U17 World Cup Team.
“He comes to every game prepared and organized, always demonstrating his skilled coaching abilities and willingness to win,” said senior Josh Mininberg, who has won both championships with Coach White. The Pace players will train over the summer, preparing for next season and hoping to continue their hot streak in the world of high school hoops under Coach White’s leadership.