Kevin White’s Blog…

Caitlin Clark, Hawkeyes transfix nation with talent, love for one another

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

Watching the replay of her walking off the court for the final time in that Iowa 22 jersey, it all makes sense now.

The blank, stoic look on her face. The dutiful hugs she offered her coaches, absent of emotion.

Why? Because above all else, Caitlin Clark is a fierce, raging competitor. Showing nothing on her face in that moment was her mechanism to mask the bitter disappointment of ending one step short of the pot of gold in her Hawkeye journey. In that moment she hadn’t yet accepted the final result, therefore the blank facade.

Luckily the bandwagon was roomy, because Caitlin made a nation fall in love with her and her Iowa Hawkeye teammates. In a world where statistics measure everything, it’s impossible to quantify the impact her performances had on teenage and pre-teen girls, yes, but also boys and grandmas and grandpas and accountants and farmers and teachers and mechanics and pretty much everyone who recognizes something special when they see it.

When they watched Caitlin play and the bandwagon began to fill, you know what else they found out? These Hawkeye women absolutely adored each other. They played unselfishly. They weren’t resentful of their transcendent star. As the crowds swelled, their heads didn’t. What did swell was their appreciation and wonder of it all. We were hooked.

For a variety of reasons, I’m one of those rare folks who’s always loved the girls and women’s game. My dad still coaches high school girls at age 82. My brother is a longtime high school girls coach. My daughter played college basketball. And as a sportswriter and now broadcaster, I’ve covered girls and boys high school basketball with equal passion, holding a special affinity for the 6-on-6 game in Iowa that sadly went away too soon.

For decades, I’ve watched many of the Sweet 16 women’s games, and pretty much all of the games from the Elite Eight to the championship game. In 1997, we drove to the men’s Final Four in Indianapolis without tickets. We underestimated the flood of Kentucky fans swarming into town, which took prices out of our range. So what did we do? Of course, we drove another two-plus hours to Cincinnati and bought tickets to the women’s championship game between Tennessee and Old Dominion.

It won’t surprise you then that I watched nearly all of Caitlin Clark’s televised games at Iowa. What nobody could have predicted was the magnitude of Caitlin’s appeal. Her shooting range and remarkable passing, not to mention her eloquence, have made millions who weren’t previously women’s basketball fans pay attention to her sport in a way no woman previously has come close to achieving.

Unfortunately, the women’s basketball community hasn’t handled the newfound attention gracefully. Resentment and jealousy seem to be around every corner – or click. It threatens to alienate those newfound fans as quickly as they’ve attracted them. To me, it’s reminiscent of Tiger Woods’ ascendance in golf. He attracted millions who had never paid attention to the sport, but not without resentment from his peers.

The WNBA has a chance to capitalize on its latest star, and we’ll see how the league handles it. At the forefront is a decision that will be coming soon. USA Basketball would be crazy not to include Caitlin Clark on the U.S. Olympic team this summer. It would create a wave of interest in the women’s competition in Paris that has not existed in recent years, simply because we have been so dominant. There is precedent for including a player who recently finished their college eligibility, as Christian Laettner was named to the men’s Dream Team in 1992 just after finishing his career at Duke.

The beauty is that if it happens, by the end of Olympics many of her teammates who may have held at least some resentment will fall in love with Caitlin because she’s such a great teammate, she’s so unselfish and she’s such an instinctive passer.

Enormous credit should of course go to Caitlin’s teammates and coaches. You feel like you know Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall, Hannah Stuelke, Molly Davis and Sydney Affolter, don’t you? The same with coaches Lisa Bluder and Jan Jensen, a native of nearby Kimballton. They’re selfless, affable and women of character.

One thing that drives me crazy as a coach when watching a high school, college or pro game is when a team has a 2-on-1 or 3-on-1, and the player with the ball insists on taking a difficult shot rather than dropping it off to a teammate for an uncontested layup. It doesn’t say much for the American game. However, I can’t remember a time when an Iowa woman made that kind of selfish play in recent years. I’m sure it’s happened, but it’s certainly a rarity.

For all of the aforementioned reasons, I’d have to say this Iowa women’s team has been my favorite to watch in all my years of sports fandom. Doug McDermott’s Creighton basketball teams would be in the conversation, but they didn’t go far enough in the NCAA tournament to reach the top. The same rings true with some of my favorite Iowa men’s basketball (no Final Four since 1980) and football (no playoff appearances) teams.

My favorite Dallas Cowboys teams featuring Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin would be in the conversation, but they were based so far away from me that it probably diminishes their impact to a degree. The closest competition to these Iowa women for me might be the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

I woke up at 5:30 on a Sunday morning in February to drive to Lincoln and stand in the cold until my toes froze to watch Caitlin and Co. do their thing. That’s a pretty good testament to their impact, and there are hundreds of thousands across our country – some of whom weren’t dedicated women’s basketball or Iowa fans before Caitlin arrived – who did something similar over these past few years.

We’d all do it again in a heartbeat.

Thank you, Caitlin, and thank you, Hawkeyes, for the ride.

Caitlin Clark phenomenon all about the feels

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

It struck me yesterday that the ironic part of the Caitlin Clark phenomenon is that while most of the hoopla currently surrounding her is based on statistics ­– the next milestone she’s surpassing, the next record she’s breaking — the reason we’re all drawn to Caitlin has nothing to do with statistics.

It’s how she makes us feel.

You feel when you watch Caitlin that you’re watching someone do it differently than anyone else has ever done it. I’ve only felt that way with a precious few in my lifetime. Off the top of my head, I can think of Michael Jordan, Steph Curry and Patrick Mahomes. There may be a few others, but it’s a very short list.

You feel awe because when the spotlight shines with white-hot intensity, Caitlin simply raises her game to another level. Think about that. In front of fans who have paid hundreds of dollars to stand in line for hours to enter the building, and millions who have tuned in to see something extraordinary, she delivers the extraordinary on a routine basis. How many athletes can do that?

I was one of those fans standing in line last Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although I have seen nearly all of Caitlin’s televised games, I had never seen her play in person. I was determined to do that several weeks ago, whether she was poised to break a scoring record or not. So I bought my wife and I general admission tickets and we arrived at Pinnacle Bank Arena at 7:30 a.m. for a noon game. There were about 30 people in line already – honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were more. I didn’t know what to expect.

We shivered in line for three hours and when we entered the arena just before 10:30, we couldn’t feel our toes. But it was worth it. We sat in the third row under the basket and drank it all in.

The experience confirmed what I believe – it’s how Caitlin makes us feel. Hundreds of young girls had made the trek with their families to Lincoln – many from southwest and western Iowa — and were waving their delightful, handmade signs. Think Taylor Swift concert with a shot clock.

Part of Caitlin’s appeal is her eloquence. She can come off the court at halftime, step in front of a microphone and immediately allow us to feel what she’s feeling. That is so much harder to do than most realize. She allows us to think of her in elementary school terms, with just a basketball and a dream.

Fast forward to Thursday night in Iowa City. She needed just eight points to break Kelsey Plum’s NCAA scoring record. Most of the time similar records are broken in far less dramatic fashion. A free throw. A layup. But as you know, nothing is conventional with Caitlin. You couldn’t have scripted it any better, a step-back 33-footer (it was measured after the game) that found nothing but net.

If that wasn’t enough, she set a school and Carver-Hawkeye Arena record for points in a game with 49. But again, the performance didn’t come at the exclusion of her teammates. She dished out 13 assists. That means she accounted for 79 points in the game, the most by any Division I women’s player in any game in the last 25 years!

As I watched Peacock’s wonderful postgame coverage (thanks, by the way), the thing that stuck out was the tight bond of the Iowa players and coaches. When one player is commanding so much attention in a team sport, there are almost always jealousies, hidden and sometimes not so hidden. The entire Iowa team and coaching staff proudly put on Caitlin Clark 22 T-shirts. Rarely do teammates go to that length for one of their peers. It speaks to Caitlin’s character and the work she has put in to be a great teammate that they would do that.

Selfishly, I would love to see her stay for one more year. I was skeptical she would do that, just because all of the autographs and security and people constantly wanting a little piece of Caitlin have to be exhausting. I don’t know how she handles it all with such grace.

But she seems to be relishing it. And so far, her performances haven’t suffered. Just the opposite, in fact. So don’t be so quick to assume she’ll head off to the Indiana Fever of the WNBA next year.

Caitlin Clark seems to be right at home, and millions of all ages are loving – feeling — every second of it.


We can’t take our eyes off Caitlin Clark

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

As the son of a hall of fame girls basketball coach, I’ve always held female basketball players in high regard.

I remember listening to the girls state tournament on the radio in 1976, and the broadcasters singing the praises of Andrew’s Kim Peters, who was born with one functioning arm, yet was a star defensive player and the captain of the all-tournament team in the old 6-on-6 game. I would have been 7.

It got even better when I was 9, 10, 11 years old. My dad would take my brother and me out of school on the Thursday of the state tournament, and we would join him and his team at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, where we would watch games all day. I was transfixed by scoring machines like Karrie Wallen of Britt, Opie Lowery of Des Moines East and Connie Yori of Ankeny. For a few years, at least at that age, they became my idols.

In my nearly 30 years as a sportswriter, I never gave a second thought to not giving girls equal coverage as the boys. In the state of Iowa, it’s just expected. I know it’s not that way everywhere.

The point of all of this is the nationwide phenomenon that is Caitlin Clark. I have watched about every televised game she’s played at the University of Iowa. Like many of you, I can’t take my eyes off her, for a variety of reasons. First, the shooting range. She consistently buries 3-pointers from many feet behind the arc. But as good of a shooter and scorer as she is, it’s her passing that demands your attention. She anticipates teammates getting open before they actually get open! And when they do finally get open, the ball is already on the way there.

Then, add Caitlin’s sense of the big moment and her ability to grab hold of that big moment. All of those things put her on a completely different level. The Hawkeyes had no business beating No. 1 South Carolina in last year’s Final Four. They were overmatched in several categories. But they had Caitlin, and she willed them to victory.

I must say that what also makes Caitlin compelling is how she responds to adversity. Yes, she complains too much when calls don’t go her way. She’s gotten much better at that, but it’s probably still not where her coaches would like it. Yet in a strange way, it also adds to her fascination because it shows she’s human.

As a lifelong girls and women’s basketball fan, when I hear of the countless converts who had never watched the women’s game dutifully tune in each night to watch Caitlin, it gives me a warm feeling inside. She has ascended into the rarified air of basketball players who attract thousands more fans when they take their act on the road. Michael Jordan, for sure. LeBron James and Steph Curry, in their primes.

My closest comparison is Jordan. It’s not that their skill sets are all that similar. It’s their aura, that feeling that you’re watching someone who’s completely different than anyone who’s come along. That feeling that you might see something you’ve never seen before.

It’s beyond cool that she plays for the school I’ve rooted for since I was in early elementary school.

Caitlin, more people are watching you than you ever imagined. That is a tribute to you. Keep doing your thing.

Buyske brothers offer lesson in teamwork

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director


Many of you are aware I’m balancing my time this winter between coaching at St. Albert as a boys varsity basketball assistant and my duties as the Sports Director and an Account Executive at Bluffs Country.

I’m grateful to the radio station for the opportunity to have a hand in both during the winter season, and I was reminded again this week why I enjoy coaching so much. During practice, our head coach selected four of the most inexperienced players in our program to be captains. They picked players for their teams in our four-team, intrasquad scrimmage. Each captain “drafted” four or five players to be on his team.

Sophomore Ben Buyske was one of the captains. He’s played much less basketball in his life than most of his teammates, but he comes to practice with a great attitude each day and has shown tremendous improvement this season.

When it came time to make his first pick, Ben could have chosen several of our varsity starters or top reserves. Without hesitating, Ben picked his brother, senior Will Buyske, who likewise hasn’t played a great deal of organized basketball. Will is a deep reserve on our varsity team and also has a tremendous attitude. The Buyske brothers are assets to our program. What they lack in talent they make up for with their attitudes, their coachability, their high degree of character and their competitive spirit.

The four teams broke into simultaneous, full-court semifinal scrimmages on our side baskets. And wouldn’t you know it, Team Buyske won its scrimmage to advance to the championship game, as Ben made a couple of nice baskets to spark his squad.

In the championship game, the brothers blended well with their teammates and again defied the odds, winning the intrasquad title! I don’t think any of the coaches stopped smiling until long after the scrimmage had ended. It was a perfect reminder of a team being greater than the sum of its parts, and it was another example of why I love coaching and athletics.

The Buyske brothers probably won’t be in the basketball headlines this winter, but they will be making headlines in other ways for the rest of their lives, I’m confident in that. Every successful program needs guys like Will and Ben Buyske to push the rest of the players on the team.

They say your character is revealed by the way you act when nobody’s watching. Sometimes the guys at the end of the bench think nobody’s watching. But coaches are always watching. And while this profession can be incredibly frustrating — most of the time for reasons outside the lines — there are times like this week’s scrimmage when you realize why you make the sacrifice.

Happy holidays to you all.


Another ‘goosebump moment’ arrives with TJ boys basketball

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director


I covered my first Thomas Jefferson sporting event in 1991.

Two years later in 1993, I stood in center field at the Marshalltown High School baseball field  and interviewed Tom Giles after he had pitched the TJ baseball team to the Class 4A state championship with an 8-1 win over Ankeny.

I’ve chronicled many great Yellow Jacket moments in a variety of sports over the years. Honestly, I’m wondering if there’s anyone who’s covered more TJ games as a media member than myself. If so, it’s a short list.

But it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows Council Bluffs when I say that the lean years have outnumbered the powerhouse years at TJ over time when it comes to high school athletics.

A common phrase tossed around in sports journalism is, “You root for the story, not the team.” It means you hope the event you’re covering yields the most compelling story that the public will want to tune into or read more about.

On Monday night, the story was the Thomas Jefferson boys basketball team trying to snap an 18-game losing skid to Lewis Central. And the most compelling story materialized in the most dramatic way imaginable.

The Yellow Jackets trailed LC 68-66 after Nash Paulson made two clutch free throws with 2.7 seconds left. The Jackets smartly threw the ball ahead about 30 feet and called timeout with 1.4 seconds left. They were still inbounding the ball about 60 feet from their basket when the play coach Donnie Johnson drew up turned magical.

Victor Atupra fired the ball to Jayden Calabro, who dribbled once and pulled up from about 25-27 feet from the basket. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know what happened next. Cash money. Final score: Thomas Jefferson 69, Lewis Central 68. The first TJ win over the Titans in 19 tries, dating back to Valentine’s Day of 2006.

I chose to get into the sports media world more than three decades ago for many reasons, but one in particular: I’ve referred to them as “goosebump moments” over the years. Sometimes it’s a singular play. Sometimes it’s an unlikely victory. Sometimes it’s an emotional story behind the story. Simply put, it’s one of those moments where one player or one team does something so spectacular that you get goosebumps.

This was one of those moments. The Yellow Jacket celebration that ensued was a sight to behold, as many of you have witnessed, either live or through video replays.

Thomas Jefferson has experienced fewer of these moments than many of its counterparts. And that’s exactly why it was so cool to experience as a broadcaster. Players who were 3-19 last season. An athletic department that in general has experienced more downs than ups. But I have a soft spot for Thomas Jefferson. There have been so many outstanding men and women who have coached at TJ over the years. They deal with challenges others don’t always have to face, and they do it with grace.

Bravo, TJ. Keep up the good work.


Lewis Central Joins Elite Company with 3rd Straight Trip to Finals

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

In my first 27 years as a sportswriter covering southwest and western Iowa, Lewis Central and the UNI-
Dome were foreign concepts.

The Titans almost always had good football teams. But they were never great. Their first 12 playoff
appearances resulted in zero trips to the semifinals. The semis joined the championship games in the
UNI-Dome in 1998, and Lewis Central was a no-show in the first 20 seasons.
But since 2018, the Titans have been a fixture in Cedar Falls’ perfectly suited indoor facility for playoff

football. On Thursday at 7 p.m., second-rated Lewis Central (10-2) will play its eighth game in the UNI-
Dome in six years when it meets No. 1 Western Dubuque (11-1) for all of the Class 4A marbles.

This will be the Titans’ third straight trip to the finals, following their 2021 championship and last year’s
runner-up showing. Both times they met Cedar Rapids Xavier in the finals.
In 2023, 331 high schools fielded football teams in the state of Iowa. Only these Fabulous Five have
reached the championship game for at least the last three seasons: Grundy Center (5 straight), Van
Meter (5), Southeast Polk (4), West Hancock (3) and Lewis Central (3).
That’s rarified air, and Lewis Central coach Justin Kammrad knows it.
“Winning is hard in itself,” he said. “To be in that position to be able to play for another championship, it’s
surreal for our guys. It’s a tribute to continued development and hard work and belief in the system. We
say it all the time. It’s on the back of our shirts. If you believe it, you’ll achieve it. Never in my wildest
dreams would I say that three straight times we’ll be here.”
It’s remarkable that the Titans are here, given the bad luck they’ve encountered in their backfield. They’ve
featured four different running backs due to injury, and standouts Brody Patlan (751 rushing yards; 12
TDs), Chance Chappell (365 yards, 3 TDs) and Caleb Moore (353 yards, 4 TDs) all have been lost for
the season to injury. Moore was a rare four-year starter and a two-way standout.
That leaves senior Kamdyn Cross (642 rushing yards, 11 TDs), the original starter who’s recovered from
a broken hand and reclaimed his starting role in fine fashion.
Junior Brady Hetzel, a first-year starter, has become a trusted and productive quarterback, throwing for
2,262 yards and 22 scores with nine INTs. In leading the Titans to the finals, he’s taken his rightful place
alongside recent QBs Max Duggan, last year’s Heisman Trophy runner-up at TCU; Austin Simmons, who
threw for more than 6,000 yards and 45 TDs at South Dakota; and current Northern Iowa freshman
Braylon Kammrad, who led LC to the 2021 title.
“The way that he is playing, I would never have fathomed that he would be doing what he’s doing at this
point,” Kammrad said of Hetzel. “It’s a tribute to him as a student of the game. He’s always asking
questions. He’s coming off after each drive, saying, ‘Should I have done this?’ He’s just being very
cerebral. He allows his athleticism to continue to make plays. … He does an excellent job of commanding
our offense and giving us a chance to win.”
The Titan defense has continued to progress throughout the season and turned in perhaps its best
performance of the year in last week’s 31-5 semifinal win over North Polk, limiting the Comets to just 140
total yards.

“If you would have told me that would be the outcome, I would not have believed you,” Kammrad said. “I
think that’s a testament to all 11 on the field doing their job and playing their assignment and not trying to
do too much.”
Linebacker Owen Thomas is the season leader in tackles with 62. Safety Curtis Witte turned in the play
of the season to date in the quarterfinals against ADM. With the Tigers leading LC 21-10 late in the third
quarter, they threatened to take a commanding three-score lead, and had second and 4 at the Titan 11.
After a loss of 1, Witte picked off Aiden Flora and returned it 49 yards. Lewis Central rallied to win 32-21,
and Witte’s sense of the moment throughout the season has yielded many clutch plays.
Now the Titans have one final puzzle to solve, Western Dubuque and running back Grant Glausser. The
5-foot-11, 200-pounder leads all Iowa players with 2,646 rushing yards on 301 carries, a sparkling 8.8
per-carry average to go with 30 touchdowns.
Quarterback Tanner Anderson complements him nicely with 1,554 passing yards and 21 touchdowns
with only four interceptions.
Lewis Central now has a chance to win a second state championship in three years. It’s one of the
biggest challenges for coaches after winning in the semifinals: going back home for a week to prepare for
the biggest game of their players’ young lives.
Justin Kammrad knows how rare these opportunities are. He’s embracing it.
“We’ll regroup and give ourselves a chance,” he said.


Absurdity of Ferentz’s contract magnified with Iowa’s 6-1 start

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

I love statistics more than most.

When you listen to my broadcasts, you will hear plenty of statistics. That’s because they can be very useful in providing a framework for what’s happening on the field or court. They can help tell the story and paint the picture for the listener.

But I chose my words very carefully. Notice I said, “can help tell the story.’’ Because statistics can never tell the entire story.

I opened with that because the focus of today’s blog is the absurdity of Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s contract. Then-Iowa athletics director Gary Barta put into Ferentz’s contract that if the Hawkeyes average at least 25 points per game this year, Ferentz will earn a $112,500 bonus, and his contract salary will rise to $925,000.

If Iowa doesn’t average 25 points per game, his current deal will terminate on June 30, 2024.

Shame on you, Gary. This is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to start.

Given his status as an athletic administrator, Barta should have known this was a horrible idea. In many ways I’m glad it’s backfired so dramatically, because it accentuates how ridiculous of an idea it was to begin with.

Iowa currently sits on top of the Big Ten West at 6-1 overall, 3-1 in conference play. By that measure – and that’s the MOST IMPORTANT MEASURE! – the Hawkeyes are having a highly successful season. Other than being outclassed at Penn State, Iowa has figured out a way to score more than the opponent every time out. If Nebraska was 6-1 and 3-1, they’d be genuflecting at Matt Rhule’s feet!

But the Hawks are averaging 20.9 points per game. By any measure, their offense is terrible. That makes what the Hawkeyes are doing on defense and special teams even more incredible. The coaching staff understands exactly who they are and what they need to do to go 1-0 on Saturday.

The lazy way out is to say, “It’s terrible football. It’s sooooo boring.’’ Maybe you’d prefer to be San Jose State, Iowa fans. The Spartans are averaging 31.4 points per game, which sounds like a lot of fun. They’re also giving up 32.3, which is why they’re 2-5. Not fun.

You may be reading this and thinking I’m a Brian Ferentz fan. Not the case. He’s proven to be bad at his job. There’s just no other way to look at it. The lack of creativity and lack of production and lack of player development in key areas cannot be ignored.

But to put a number on an expectation, and then tie someone’s future employment status to that number, is wrong on so many levels, because that number doesn’t necessarily relate to winning and losing. And to publicize that number so that you can be vilified each week by John Q. Public is even more absurd. It’s one thing to discuss that number privately. It quite another to make it public and make your offensive coordinator more of a laughingstock than he already was.

Ferentz was either good enough to keep his job or he wasn’t. (I don’t believe he was, and obviously I’m in the majority.) Hopefully this nonsense will be a lesson to others to never go down this path publicly again.


With 3 state-rated teams, Bluffs postseason volleyball should be fun ride

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

Wednesday was Christmas morning for high school volleyball teams in the state of Iowa.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released its regional pairings, and with that the guessing and projecting ended and the road to the state tournament at Xtream Arena in Coralville Oct. 30-Nov. 2 became more concrete. The brackets are now in black and white, so it’s much easier for the coaches and players to have a vision of the postseason, because there are dates and opponents and sites in clear sight.

Volleyball is such a terrific sport, especially in person. TV sometimes doesn’t do it justice. One of the reasons I believe is the nature of how a winner is determined. In a best-of-5-set format, it’s quite possible for a team to drop a pair of tightly contested sets and then rally to win three straight. It’s a remarkable experience to be in the gym when that happens, especially in the postseason.

In basketball, when a team gets behind by 20, you almost never see a team rally to win. In volleyball, rallying from down two sets is a similar momentum shift, yet it happens much more frequently.

In Council Bluffs, we’ve been blessed with three state-rated teams this season. St. Albert is rated 11th in 1A and seeking its ninth state appearance – all in the last 13 seasons. The Saintes will play three home matches if they continue to win, and a regional-final date with No. 7 Stanton could be in the offing if form holds.

Lewis Central is rated sixth in 4A and will need just two wins to reach the state tournament for the sixth time in school history. The Titans will host either Sergeant Bluff-Luton or Le Mars, and a win there would allow them to host the regional final, possibly against No. 10 Sioux City Heelan.

In 5A, Thomas Jefferson will open at Urbandale, with the winner traveling to No. 8 Ankeny for a semifinal match. Fifteenth-rated Abraham Lincoln will play host to Sioux City West. A Lynx win will likely send them on the road for a regional final at No. 2 Ankeny Centennial. AL is seeking its 14th state appearance.

Bluffs Country is hoping to broadcast every match involving a Council Bluffs school in the postseason, using the radio side and the streaming capability. After being on the air for 4½ straight hours for both of St. Albert’s matches during its Tuesday triangular at Harlan, this broadcasting rookie is starting to round into form. Make sure you attend some postseason matches or listen in – or both, with that smartphone and some earbuds. It’s going to be a fun ride.


Return to alma mater Friday triggers memories

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director


Memory Lane, I’m heading your way.

On Friday night, Brian Mainwaring and I will be at Tri-Center High School, my alma mater, as the Trojans host St. Albert in our Stream Game of the Week on and the Bluffs Country app.

Tri-Center will always hold a special place in my heart. My father, T. Gary White, was a longtime teacher, coach and athletic director at Tri-Center. As a youngster, when your dad’s the AD and you love sports, seemingly every waking hour is spent at the school. I could not have asked for a better place to grow up.

A high school football game is the reason for my return. I competed in four sports in high school and three in college, but there is simply nothing that compares to a high school football Friday night. The athletes and coaches lucky enough to participate Friday night know what I mean. Part of it I believe is because of the massive amount of teamwork and training and strategy and trust – so much trust – you must put in your fellow teammates and your coaches in order to succeed. If one piece of that chain breaks, everything can – and often does – crumble.

One of my proudest achievements is being the starting quarterback on Tri-Center’s first-ever playoff football team 38 years ago. That year there was no sneaking in. Griswold and Tri-Center both entered the regular-season finale unbeaten. The winner would advance to the playoffs and the loser’s season would be over. We did it in storybook fashion, rallying from two scores down to go ahead in the final moments, and our fans stormed the field in celebration.

It was just another example of how much high school football means to young athletes and their school communities. Forty years from now, there’s no doubt in my mind that the TJ players will remember their last-second win over AL in great detail.

As mentioned, Tri-Center is playing St. Albert on Friday night. I have coached and will continue to coach many of the Falcon athletes when we get to basketball season. That adds another personal layer to this contest.

Good luck to both teams. The guy in the press box will be proud to be there, calling the action, as these young men take the field intent on making some memories of their own.


Plenty of Twists & Turns In 1st Month of Broadcaster’s Career

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

My professional broadcasting career currently consists of eight high school athletic events – four football games and four volleyball matches, all in the last month.

I can confidently say that the experience has been equal parts exhilarating, maddening, enlightening, exasperating, educational, and everything in between.

There are so many things that go into one sports broadcast I’d never fully considered. Here’s an example of some of what went into Thursday’s volleyball match between Lewis Central and Shenandoah:

Reach out to both head coaches and set up Zoom interviews. Conduct the Zoom interviews. Edit those interviews. Load them into the system. Update the ad rotation with our new sponsors. Find and watch some videos on Shenandoah and Lewis Central, teams I hadn’t seen yet this year. Write out an intro to the match. Write out the probable starting lineups. Map out a timeline of the pregame show. Research statistical and historical information on the two teams. Do an audit of all the equipment to make sure I have everything.

I’m probably missing some things, but you get the idea. On game night, there’s the matter of getting everything connected properly to get on the air. It’s more complicated than I expected and we’ve had more than our share of bumps along the way. Also, the nature of volleyball itself makes broadcasting a challenge, especially doing it solo as I am. That ball is contacted by so many players in such a short amount of time!

Nonetheless, there have been plenty of high points. Three of our four football games have been fantastic. Two of our volleyball matches have been back-and-forth affairs.

In many ways, I relate the entire process of broadcasting a sporting event with the entire process of putting out a Sunday sports section in the newspaper. There are so many moving parts and so many decisions to be made on the fly, that it’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been in those seats.

Another highlight of my week was heading over to Thomas Jefferson on Wednesday and speaking to Mr. Joshua Rowan’s Broadcasting class. The students were respectful and seemed genuinely interested, and I enjoyed explaining to them a little bit about my professional career and my new position at Bluffs Country. A couple of them have serious designs on pursuing careers in the media. Thanks to Mr. Rowan for inviting me in to speak.

Tonight, Brian Mainwaring and I have the Glenwood at Lewis Central football game, and we’re expecting our fourth great game in five weeks. Glenwood is rated eighth in the state in Class 4A in the latest Radio Iowa poll, while Lewis Central is seventh.

Until next week!


Grateful To Be Home Doing What I Love

By Kevin White


Bluffs Country Sports Director

Figure out what you love most and find a way to make that your career.

Representing newspapers at various Career Fairs in high schools through the years was the No. 1 thing I strived to get across to youngsters visiting my table.

Sounds simple. For many, it’s difficult to execute.

I’m one of the lucky ones. Thanks in part to my incredible athletic experience at Tri-Center High School, I fell in love with high school sports at a young age and made it my life for the first 28 years of my professional career at the Council Bluffs Nonpareil and Omaha World-Herald.

Now, I’m back full-time in sports media as the Sports Director at Bluffs Country, a new commercial radio station in Council Bluffs (106.5 FM, 1420 AM). I’ll be broadcasting a variety of high school athletic events at our C.B. schools, and we’re already off to a flying start.

The reception I’ve received and our station has received from the activities directors, coaches, and business owners in the city has been overwhelming. The community is excited about this station, and we’re excited to shine a brighter light on this town’s teams and athletes.

I’m writing this on the eve of the annual Abraham Lincoln/Thomas Jefferson football game, and I’ll have the play-by-play, with Brian Mainwaring providing the color analysis.

I covered my first AL/TJ game in 1991. Two years later, I was determined to find out how many times the schools had played and which school was leading the series. After many hours of legwork, I produced a graphic that ran in the Nonpareil on Sept. 23, 1993. Heading into that ’93 game, TJ led the series 39-36 with eight ties.

With the help of Brent Moore’s remarkable website,, I was able to fill in the gaps for the last 30 years except for two – 1993 and 1997. A quick text to Lewis Central head football coach Justin Kammrad revealed that the 1997 winner was TJ, as Kammrad was a standout running back for the Jackets in that era. An email to TJ’s journalism teacher, Joshua Rowan unlocked the final result of the puzzle, 1993.

So I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that (drum roll, please) Friday will be the 116th meeting between Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. The Lynx lead the series 60-47-8 and have won 14 of the last 16, including the last four.

Think of that! A total of 115 times these two rivals have knocked heads, spanning more than 100 years. (Several times they’ve met on multiple occasions in a season.) Probably every living person who participated can remember something about the AL-TJ game in their senior year.

Tonight, another chapter will be written. There will be plenty of emotion. Many times in this series, I’ve seen that emotion not harnessed properly and turn into a detriment to a team. We’ll see how the athletes and coaches handle it tonight.

Since I now work at a country station in the city I’ve called home for 32 years, it seems John Denver’s classic line rings truest, “Hey, it’s good to be back home again.’’