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Vanessa White excited for 'bittersweet' transition into becoming Gainesville High girls basketball coach
Peachtree Ridge coach Vanessa White watches her players during a 2022 game in Suwanee. Photo by Nicole Sietz Gwinnett Daily Post

New Gainesville girls basketball coach Vanessa White has described the looming transition as bittersweet. 

The upshot for the Lady Red Elephants’ new leader is getting to mold a program with new facilities as it tries to regain their prestige of the past. 

However, it comes at the cost of leaving a Peachtree Ridge program which the sixth-year coach had built into a contender at the state’s highest classification. 

On Monday, White was named Gainesville’s new coach. 

She’ll be looking to build the Red Elephants back into a contender with the move down to Class 6A, after going 1-11 in Region 6-7A this season. 

White will finish out the current season at Peachtree Ridge, then begin the process of getting to work at Gainesville. 

“My first steps with the Lady Red Elephants will be to get to know the players and find out who they are as people and student-athletes,” White said. “I’m excited about the journey. It will be full of peaks and valleys, but we’ll cherish the peaks and grow from the valleys. I know the opportunity at Gainesville High will make me a better person, teacher, and coach and I’m excited to get started influencing and impacting these girls and the Gainesville community in a positive way.”

White said Tuesday that she’s not had an opportunity to meet her future players, but is excited for that opportunity when it comes. 

Gainesville’s new coach is also enthused by the new facilities on its campus that will be ready in time for the fall of 2022. 

“It’s going to be top notch,” White said. 

In 2022, White guided Peachtree Ridge to its best season on her watch, going 9-0 in Region 7-7A and made it to the second round of the state playoffs. 

That’s a start contrast to the 7-19 mark in her first season at the school in Suwanee. 

Despite Gainesville’s recent struggles, White is excited about the opportunity. 

White is a native of northwest Georgia, having played at Dade County High for longtime Buford High coach Gene Durden. 

As a player, White was named Northwest Georgia Player of the Year three times, while leading Dade County to a pair of state runner-up finishes. 

In 2000 as a senior, White recalls playing against Gainesville in the state tournament. 

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