Gehrdes spent 23 seasons as head coach of girls’ lacrosse at Annapolis High, which he led to three state championships. White served 33 seasons as head coach of boys’ lacrosse at Broadneck High, capturing four state crowns along the way.
Annapolis never suffered a losing season — never even finished .500 –— under Gehrdes, who upon retirement described his tenure with one word.
“I was very fortunate to have some of the best players in the country come through Annapolis. We had girls with great individual skills who were committed to the team concept,” Gehrdes said. “I had many teams in which the second string could have started for a lot of other schools in the county. I think that 1996 team could have competed against most colleges."
Stephy Samaras combined the best attributes of two older sisters and became the type of women's lacrosse player that could excel in all areas of the field and all facets of the game. The Annapolis native will be inducted into the Chesapeake Chapter of US Lacrosse on Thursday night.
Stephy Samaras, who is being enshrined in the Chesapeake Chapter along with Gehrdes, served as a captain for the 1996 squad that was the first in school history to secure a state championship. The Panthers would win the Class 4A-3A title again in 1998 and 1999.
Broadneck compiled a 408-146 record (.736 winning percentage) during the White era, which was highlighted by consecutive state titles in 1992-93 and 1996-97. The Bruins suffered only one losing season under White’s leadership.
“My first 10 years I was all about winning state championships. I realized over time there was much more important things to coaching,” White said. “What I’m going to miss most about coaching are the relationships."
White devoted a total of 43 years to coaching, serving as head coach at Southern High for five years before moving to Broadneck. The Pasadena resident boasts an overall career record of 445-198.
“One of the reasons I coached so long was because I never had kids of my own. All those players were my family,” he said. “My biggest thrill to this day is being called ‘coach’ by all my former players. I firmly believe the most power a coach has is being a life mentor, and that’s what I tried to be for every kid I worked with."
In recognition of a decorated career at North County High, the Naval Academy and with the United States national team, Andy Ross will be inducted into the Chesapeake Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame this Thursday night.
Gehrdes, who was a three-sport athlete (soccer, wrestling, lacrosse) at Severn School, had coaching in his blood. He is the son of Jim Gehrdes, who coached cross country then track and field at the Naval Academy from 1952 through 1981.
Dave Gehrdes routinely attended practices and meets, observing how his father instructed and interacted with the Navy athletes.
“I learned a lot about coaching from my father and his example was certainly a big reason why I got into the profession as well,” said Gehrdes, who was also head coach of the wrestling and boys’ soccer teams at Annapolis along. He also served as an assistant to the legendary Al Laramore in boys’ lacrosse.
Girls lacrosse is a much different game than boys’ lacrosse, and Gehrdes readily admits he was a novice in 1991 when Annapolis initiated a varsity program. He initially assisted Sue Chittim before becoming head coach when the future Annapolis High principal had a baby.
“I didn’t know anything about girls’ lacrosse. I had to learn all the rules and overall philosophy of the sport,” he said. “I felt like I grew along with the game. There were a lot of rules changes and developments during the time I coached. Restraining lines came in, boundaries came in, goggles came in. It’s a much different game now than when I first started.”
Gehrdes coached girls’ lacrosse much the same way he did wrestling and soccer. He emphasized the fundamentals, developed organized practice plans and relied on repetition in order to improve skills.
Gehrdes grew emotional thinking about all the players he worked with when asked about being inducted into the Chesapeake Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
“I don’t think anyone who gets into coaching ever thinks about those type of things happening. I was very lucky and very fortunate to be associated with such an outstanding program,” he said. “When I look back on my time coaching girls’ lacrosse, I think about all the fun we had at practices and appreciate the interpersonal relationships. It’s fun when you win, and we were fortunate to win an awful lot.”
“You don’t get into coaching unless you absolutely love it. I feel comfortable knowing I was in it for the right reasons,” said White, who played lacrosse at Severna Park High and Anne Arundel Community College. “Obviously, coaching has been my whole life. It’s all I’ve known for a long, long time. Honestly, I don’t know how I’ll handle not coaching this coming spring.”
White devoted 20 years of his teaching career to special education, working at Central Special School in Edgewater and Marley Glen Special School in Glen Burnie. He routinely sought out special needs students to serve as team managers and has been the only unified bowling coach at Broadneck.
“I believe I was a better coach and teacher because I was involved with special education for so long. That whole experience impacted me profoundly,” he said.
White experienced tragedy during his lengthy tenure at Broadneck, having to attend the funerals for three former players. He provided tremendous support for the families of Gerry Case, Jess Carson and David Hooper when those three Bruins died way too young.
“Some of the best and worst things that have ever happened to me were through lacrosse,” White acknowledged. “Losing players is something that really affects you. I don’t think you ever get over that type of stuff. You just learn to live with it."
Caitlyn McFadden Phipps, who is married to Chesapeake Bayhawks goalie Brian Phipps and resides in Annapolis, was a fitting choice to represent the Maryland Terrapins as a member of the 2020 Chesapeake Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
White thinks about the three great players being enshrined on Thursday night — Andy Ross (North County High, Naval Academy), Stephy Samaras (Annapolis High, Virginia) and Caitlyn McFadden Phipps (Notre Dame Prep, Maryland). He is flattered to be included in their company along with joining Gehrdes in the coaching wing of the Chesapeake Chapter Hall of Fame.