Midlothian getting behind high school football coach’s fight with cancer

Vibrant, passionate and caring are all words that describe Clif White.

A teacher and coach at Midlothian High School, White loves his sports.

He dominated every sport he played at Venus in the early 2000s. He shares the state record for the longest touchdown pass of 99 yards in a game against Alvarado in 2002.

He’s been in perfect health for most of his life ... until May of this year.

White’s family went into a state of shock when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 urachal cancer. The urachus is a canal that exists when a fetus is developing before birth. The canal runs from the bladder of the fetus to the belly button.

The cancer is so rare that less than one in a million have a chance at getting it.

Freshman football coach Clif White blows a whistle to start a drill during football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022. White will miss his first official freshman football practice in 8 years because of his third round of chemotherapy to combat urachal cancer.
Freshman football coach Clif White blows a whistle to start a drill during football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022. White will miss his first official freshman football practice in 8 years because of his third round of chemotherapy to combat urachal cancer.

“He’s never drank, smoked, did drugs. He leads a very healthy and active lifestyle,” his wife, Meagan said. “The doctor told us that it wasn’t anything he did, just a case of bad luck.”

The couple met while in college.

Clif was attending the University of North Texas. Meagan was a standout softball pitcher for the University of Texas in Austin.

“Everyone has amazed me with how much love and support they have shown,” said Clif, who is 36. “It is incredible to see everyone step up in prayer, help take care of our kids, help with taking care of our house, contribute financially, making some awesome shirts and putting on fundraisers.”

A Go Fund Me was created and over $37,000 has been raised since White’s diagnosis.

Family, friends, colleagues and players continue to send their thoughts and prayers on social media.

“I’m blown away by everyone’s love,” White said. “I am eternally grateful. I am so blessed with an army of friends and family.”

Added Meagan White, “We have sat back and watched God assemble an army of his soldiers to help love and support us through this. Mountains keep moving and seas keep parting. We are thankful beyond measure for all the doctors, the entire community of Midlothian, Venus, friends and family for going to war with us by making shirts, making us food, taking care of our kids, watching over our house, contributing financially, putting together fundraisers, sending cards and fighting on their knees in prayer.”

Coaching career

White has been at Midlothian for the past 10 years, where he’s the head coach for the freshman team and an assistant coach for the varsity.

For the past eight years, White has also been a softball assistant.

“Coach White is a kid magnet,” head football coach Doug Wendel said. “He’s what’s best about Midlothian High School. He is about as loyal as they come. He loves the school and the kids, and gives back.”

White continues to coach while still going through chemotherapy.

White helped with freshman camp during the week.

“He’s a tremendous asset to our athletics family and the Midlothian staff. He brings in so much energy and laughter to those around him,” said Diane Barnes, who is the athletic secretary for the district.

The team huddles to review a play during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
The team huddles to review a play during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

With football season about to start, Wendel said a plan is in place to help White and his family.

Midlothian will host Mansfield in a scrimmage at MISD Stadium on Aug. 18. Any donation is encouraged and given to the White family.

“He’s indispensable and one of the hardest workers,” Wendel said. “He’s a total profession and solid in the classroom. He loves Midlothian and everything about the Panthers.”

Wendel also said the entire football staff will be wearing custom-made shirts during the program’s first practice on Monday, their first scrimmage and first regular season game when they host Arlington Seguin on Aug. 25.

“He’s a tremendous role model and we’re one big family,” Wendel said. “We will get through this together.”

A player runs an offensive drill during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
A player runs an offensive drill during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Cancer and chemo

The softball season was just about end and White was getting urinary tract infections, which Meagan thought was weird since men don’t normally get those.

After a few days with some antibiotics, nothing was getting better.

His stomach was sore. His back was sore.

Eventually, they found swollen lymph nodes and traces of blood in his urine. An ultrasound detected that White had a mass in his bladder and was soon referred to an urologist and oncologist, to help with his bladder and cancer.

“The doctor told us that this is most likely cancer and that we needed to get the mass out as soon as possible. The next day Clif went in for surgery to get it removed,” Meagan said. “When surgery was over, the doctor told me that it’s in fact a cancerous tumor. We had to wait a week for the pathology report to come back and tell us what kind of cancer it is and what stage it was so that we can determine the appropriate treatments.”

Freshman football coach Clif White runs drills with players during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022. “Cancer might be overtaking my body, but it’s not overtaking my mind,” said White who is in between rounds of chemotherapy.
Freshman football coach Clif White runs drills with players during freshman football camp at Midlothian High School on Thursday, July 28, 2022. “Cancer might be overtaking my body, but it’s not overtaking my mind,” said White who is in between rounds of chemotherapy.

Friday will mark White’s third round in chemo.

The family was planning to go four rounds, but will see how the tumor is doing.

They hope it’s shrinking, but Meagan said if there’s growth, the doctors have a plan B and even a plan C in place.

“Fatigue has been the worst part. I’m so used to being active with my kids,” Clif said. “I hate not being able to swim with them, practice baseball with my son and I’m a little worried about missing some football in August. I’m resting when I can, trying to take care of myself so that I can give them as much of my energy as possible.”

Trusting in God

White needed to start treatment right away and got an appointment in Houston.

But the family had to wait three more weeks.

Meagan was happy they got in, but not happy with the amount of time they had to wait.

Luckily, another oncologist in Fort Worth messaged her and told her they met at a softball camp Meagan was working. The doctor made a few phone calls and White’s appointment was moved up a week earlier.

The same doctor is now treating White in the comfort of his own home.

“He didn’t want any credit for this. He just wanted to do God’s work. We were beyond grateful and ecstatic,” Meagan White said.

Meagan added, “We’re going to hold on tight to our faith during this and we both are going to do what we teach our athletes every day and that is to fight through adversity, persevere through hard situations, grit, grind, fight and trust the process.”