Hutton: Ted White a perfect fit back at North Judson
August 10, 2013 8:16PM
Updated: September 12, 2013 6:51AM
NORTH JUDSON — There are some combinations, like say mixing peanut butter and ground beef, that just don’t seem like they’d be that tasty.
Then there others that are so unlikely you’d never dream they were possible.
The Ted White-Kirk Kennedy pairing at North Judson falls somewhere between the two scenarios.
Quick history lesson: Ted White was Russ Radtke’s assistant for well over 20 years at North Judson first, and later Griffith. He was the person most responsible for executing the wishbone, which on its best days, was impossible for teams to stop. Griffith was the archenemy for teams like Hobart, Lowell and Andrean.
And everyone knows that Radtke was always hard to like. The drive-by handshakes and his isolationist style didn’t make Radtke many friends in the business.
Fast forward to North Judson. Kevin Cox resigns and Kennedy takes the job last spring.
Any time a new coach arrives at a school the expectations from the assistants have to be that they will be gone — even at the high school level.
It’s just the way it works. The new guy brings in his guys and his systems and starts over. White, an affable, high-energy coach with a beard straight out of the Amish playbook, seemingly had three strikes against him: He was a Griffith guy, his specialty was the wishbone, and he was part of Cox’s staff. Kennedy was a conventional Power I coach.
Kennedy didn’t see it that way at all. He viewed White as a necessary link to the past and he quickly offered him a job.
Kennedy has always been a delegator.
He gave up his beloved Power I offense for the sake of the team and for White, who was, in a word, surprised when Kennedy asked him what he wanted to run. Judson ran the spread offense last year under Cox.
“It’s awesome,” White said of being able to run the bone. “The kids are behind it, the community is behind it. It’s a great thing. “
It’s so awesome that the team is trying to come up with a new name for the field, ala the Boneyard at Griffith.
“Maybe, we’ll call it the graveyard,” White said.
In a sense, Kennedy doesn’t see a huge difference between the Power I and the bone. They are both ball-control, running offenses. Kennedy’s offenses were so good at Lowell when they were either winning state titles or contending for them that passing the football was usually an afterthought. That possibility exists with the wishbone.
White already has visions of a hybrid offense that he calls the I-bone.
“It’s the best of Griffith and the best of Lowell,” he said. “We’re putting it together. The kids are all excited.”
Expect some different looks — and maybe even times when they do run with two backs lined up behind each other deep in the backfield.
While White acknowledges the combination of him and Kennedy roaming on the sideline together might seem strange, he believes that Radtke’s style is similar to Kennedy’s.
“He’s an awesome coach,” White said. “He knows exactly what he wants and he’s a great motivational speaker. He’s a coach’s coach. He backs away and let’s you go.”
The irony of the new relationship between the two is that White had every intention of following Radtke to New Prairie last year.
He had picked out a desk at New Prairie and had even moved his stuff there when Cox called just before the season and offered him a job.
White, who lives in North Judson, wasn’t necessarily prone to taking the gig until he asked his son, Jonas, who played on the team, if he wanted him to coach.
Initially, Jonas told him to follow Radtke but he called up his dad a few days later and asked him to help coach.
White made the move quickly and he didn’t regret it. He had missed every one of his older son’s games when he coached at Griffith.
“The joy of seeing your kids play is the greatest feeling in the world,” he said.
Now, it’s full throttle into the new season for White, who couldn’t be happier with his new boss and his new mission: Helping to permanently restore the winning tradition at North Judson.