In 2005, Geoff White spent half a season serving as the interim head coach of the Kelowna Falcons.
Seven years later, the 31-year-old Kelowna product is back with the West Coast League club to take on the job on a full-time basis.
White fills the vacancy left by Al Cantwell who opted not to return as head coach for a third season.
When he was approached by Falcons’ GM Mark Nonis about the opportunity, there was no hesitation on White’s part.
“I’ve always been interested in getting involved with the team again,” said White. “It’s a new set of challenges for me, it’s a higher level of baseball and it’s the closest thing there is to the professional game that we have around here. It’s an opportunity that I’m excited about.”
White grew up in Kelowna and played his minor baseball here, then later attended Malaspina University and Jamestown College in North Dakota.
A pitcher, White also played professionally in 2006 with Edmonton of the Northern League where he led the club in innings pitched.
As a coach he has worked over the years with Kelowna Jays junior and senior teams, Team B.C.’s U21 program, and is currently the head man for the Okanagan College Coyotes.
While at OC, White has had 11 Coyotes players named to the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference all-star team.
The Falcons’ GM is happy to have White on board.
“I think it’s a nice fit,” said Mark Nonis. “Geoff certainly has the credentials with what he has done with the OC program. Not too often does a baseball mind like Geoff’s come out of Kelowna and we are lucky to have him in our own backyard.”
As for Cantwell, who coaches high school baseball in Louisiana, Nonis said the Calgary native chose not return for a third season to be closer to his young family.
“Yes it is disappointing losing Al, but I have always told him family comes first and I completely understand his difficult decision to step down,” Nonis said. “He has a beautiful young family and I know it’s been tough on him and his wife over the last two summers being so far away.”
Joining White on the Falcons’ coaching staff is his current assistant at OC, Lyall Foran.
Foran, who joined the Coyotes last season, is a former head coach of the Medicine Hat Moose Monarchs American Legion program, and was recently a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Norfolk State University.
White, Foran and the Falcons will open the 54-game WCL season Wednesday, June 5 in Victoria against the league’s newest team, the Harbourcats.