Baylor Equestrian Coach Ellen White Announces Retirement

Posted at 10:54 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 23:54:19-04

Baylor equestrian head coach Ellen White announced her retirement on Thursday. She helped launch the program as the inaugural head coach and recently completed her 12th year leading the Bears.

“When I was first asked to be a coach, I felt a strong message from the Lord to go and lead young women to be successful athletes in a sport that I love, and to grow them physically, mentally, and spiritually in the wonderful Christian environment that Baylor offers to its students,” White said. “I loved every minute that God gave to me as a coach. And, I will treasure the memories of the hard work, and success, that He gave to our team. I am retiring confident that the team has a strong foundation to continue to succeed inside and outside the arena.”

White amassed a 126-78 record over her 12 seasons at Baylor, including nine-straight 10-win seasons and a winning record in 11 of her 12 seasons at the helm of the program.

“We are grateful to Ellen White for her 12 years of service to her alma mater,” Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said. “As an early pioneer of the sport, she quickly established the nationally-respected Baylor Equestrian program upon her arrival in 2004 and has built a strong foundation for the future. Coach White is a valued member of our community, and we are thankful for her commitment to our student-athletes and friendship to Baylor University.”

Leading the program from the time of its inception in 2004 into the team’s first year of competition in the 2005-06 academic year, White has helped grow the program and the sport at the collegiate level from the ground up. Rhoades will commence a national search to find her replacement.

“Ellen White is an exceptional servant leader in the Waco community, and she has used her many talents to provide good works for Baylor,” Associate AD, Senior Woman Administrator and equestrian sport program supervisor Nancy Post said. “As one of the initial community advisors to Baylor Athletics administration as we embarked upon preparations for our 18th intercollegiate sport, Ellen provided key guidance regarding the needs of the four-legged athletes. Later selected as the program’s first head coach, Ellen has grown the equestrian program from the initial roster of 25 student-athletes in a temporary facility to a perennial national contender with a strong team of student-athletes from across the country. Along with her personal touches in the design of the program and on each of us who have worked alongside her, Ellen’s contributions to this program are everlasting.”

Joining the Baylor program as an internationally recognized dressage trainer, White carried her experience training with some of the world’s finest clinicians and Olympians to the student-athletes on the newly formed equestrian team.

The White family graciously opened their Willow Spring Farm facility to the Baylor Equestrian program as its initial home in 2005. White played an integral role in helping Baylor secure donations to build the Willis Family Equestrian Center, which stands as one of nation’s premier collegiate equestrian facilities. The team moved into its new on-campus home in the fall of 2006 after a tornado destroyed White’s home and the barns, horse stalls and arena that housed the equestrian team

White and the Baylor program steadily gained traction in the early years of the sport, with the Bears hitting their stride in the 2009 season.

Baylor picked up its first-ever No. 1 ranking in the Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian National Coaches poll, culminating in program-best finishes in hunter seat and western team competitions at the national championships.

White and the Bears notched the first of the team’s three Big 12 titles in 2010, defeating Texas A&M for the program’s first trophy.

In 2012, the Bears had a program-best third place overall finish in the NCEA Championship and Baylor’s first and only national title, with the hunter seat team taking home the trophy under White’s tutelage.

White was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year and Baylor won its second Big 12 title in 2015, with the top-seeded Bears defeating Kansas State.

The Bears notched their third Big 12 title in 2017, defeating TCU and Oklahoma State to add to BU’s trophy case. After holding the No. 1 ranking at various points throughout the season, the Big 12 title helped secure another program first – the top seed at the NCEA Championship, where the Bears would fall to conference foe, TCU, in the quarterfinal round.

Since the formation of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association in 2010, White has coached Baylor student-athletes to earn 37 NCEA All-America selections, 35 All-Big 12 honorees, 99 Academic All-Big 12 picks and eight Big 12 Riders of the Year.