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It’s ‘official’ – Whitehaven’s Rodney Saulsberry is ‘More Than A Coach’

Terry Davis

Whitehaven High School head football coach Rodney Saulsberry now is “More Than A Coach” – officially

He is the inaugural winner of an award, created by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., bearing that motto. 

Some people get a coaching job just for the extra money; others only want to win. However, for some coaches winning is not the most important thing. For those coaches, steering their players toward a better way of life is a crucial component of the job.

Saulsberry is one of those coaches. The well-respected coach has raised state championship trophies and various coach-of-the-year awards. 

Last Friday (Dec. 16). representatives of the fraternity’s Fifth District (Kentucky and Tennessee) Fatherhood and Mentoring Committee, presented the award to Saulsberry at Whitehaven High School. 

The coach was recognized for his off-the-field mentoring and guidance, along with his leadership of the young men from Whitehaven High and in the community. 

Saulsberry’s community work and achievements were noticed by Omega member Pat Johnson, who recommended the coach for the “More Than a Coach” award.

Coach Saulsberry expressed elation and showed humility for the recognition.

Quincy Snider, Fifth District vice president, said, “When you think no one is looking, Omega Psi Phi is always looking and willing to recognize someone who is lifting their community up.”

Whitehaven Principal Dr. Vincent J. Hunter said he was pleased that Saulsberry received the inaugural award, calling the coach an ambassador for Whitehaven High.

“We don’t get into this profession for money; we get into education for the uplift of our kids in our community,” Hunter said.

Saulsberry often is on the phone looking for a place for graduating seniors to continue their education. 

He has placed players in many football programs across the country, including Ohio State, Alabama, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and the University of Memphis.

He does not just concentrate on the larger schools. He reaches out to HBCUs and junior colleges for any opportunity that will benefit a player in furthering their playing career and getting an education via a scholarship. 

In a rarity, the Whitehaven Tigers did not make the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. That did not stop Saulsberry from pursuing another opportunity for college scouts to consider his players to be a part of their program.

It is, he said, part of “doing what our mission is … (using) the game of football to further the opportunities to raise these young men.

“It feels good to get noticed and recognized for what you are passionate about, helping African-American men develop. It is bigger than wins and losses. It is a luxury to have success on the field and in the lives of young men,” Saulsberry said about the award.

The Tigers are expected to have at least 10 players sign scholarship offers. Most will sign during the February signing period.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. was founded on Nov. 17, 1911 at Howard University.


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