CHS Boys Tennis Coach And Olympic Sports Nutritionist Tours The World - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

CHS Boys Tennis Coach And Olympic Sports Nutritionist Tours The World

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019 11:06 am

A couple of months ago, while Islander Boys Tennis Head Coach Mackenzie White, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, LD, and I were talking about her team, she mentioned she was headed for Yokohama, Japan that weekend (We’ll get to the professional designations in a few paragraphs). After a probing question from me, along the lines of, ‘Why are you going there?’ she responded that she was a Contract Sports Dietitian for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Since White was in her first season at the helm of the Islander Boys program, I didn’t know her well, but thought there was an interesting story which could be explored. We met last week for an interview, and shortly afterwards she was headed to Gwangju, South Korea for the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, where she will be for the month of July. White said, “I’ll be with the Open Water Swimmers for the first 20 days and then the last 10 days with the pool swimmers. If they need coverage for anybody else, water polo, synchronized swimming or diving, they’ll call me. Typically those sports are separate from each other, but they are all under FINA (Federation International de Natation, the international governing body of Aquatics) for the World Championships.

White was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was raised in Mobile, Alabama. She is the daughter of Kevin and Melissa White, with her dad being a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of South Alabama and her mom a teacher. Her sister Miranda Scalabrino has a PhD from the University of Florida and is doing her post-doctorate work at Duke University in the field of eye genetics. White said in a bit of understatement, “There’s a lot of higher education in my family.”

White started playing tennis at the age of six, with an important caveat. “It wasn’t intense when I was six. I worked out with the swim team in the morning and afterwards it was tennis. No one in my family played tennis. I didn’t burn out and it was just very chill initially. I earned four varsity letters at S.S. Murphy High School in Mobile and took a number of AP classes there. I looked at a couple of colleges and I wanted a scholarship. I had offers from Louisville, North Carolina State and New Mexico. I liked the team and the coaches at New Mexico and went there. It was somewhere new, and I had lived my whole life to that point in the South. It was great.”

Her tennis career highlights included winning a match against the No. 2 player from LSU, for an unusual reason. “My senior year LSU came to New Mexico and I won my match against their No. 2 player. That was where I wanted to go, but they didn’t have a scholarship. My Mom and Dad went to LSU, so I got to rub it in their face a little. In college you get a per diem allowance for trips and I was able to save enough of my per diem, this isn’t good for your diet, that along with my off-campus housing allowance I was able to pay for graduate school, which was pretty good. And my third highlight was playing against Long Beach State in the NCAA Regionals at USC. I was winning my match when the team lost. It was an amazing experience getting to play in that tournament.”

White still plays tennis competitively and in fact had a match scheduled for later in the day of our interview. She was competing in a doubles event in La Jolla with her playing partner Maika Adair.

It would be fair to say White backed into her career in dietetics, as she explained. “At New Mexico initially I wanted to do Pre-Med and become a doctor. Later, my academic advisor said I couldn’t graduate in four years in Pre-Med because of a mistake they had made in scheduling. I had a friend on the soccer team who said I ought to look into nutrition, that it would be a great fit and I could graduate in four years.

“Earlier in my tennis career at New Mexico, I had a match against one of my friends from Alabama, where I played and cramped up because I didn’t have any hydration. I lost the match in three sets because the trainer, who was a graduate student, wouldn’t give me anything. Nobody was advocating for athletes, so I decided to become an advocate. The trainer gave the hydration liquid to the Men’s Team when they were drunk and hung over, but he wouldn’t give me anything in a real match. I could have beaten that girl. Going from a humid climate to a dry climate (Alabama to New Mexico) is a huge change and so is the other way around.”

White’s honors included being named Athlete of the Year by the New Mexico Lobo Club. “They have the coolest trophy,” White said. “It’s has a little wolf on it and it’s my favorite trophy. It’s awarded to a very good athlete who has contributed to the community and is a good student as well. And last year I won the Outstanding Alumna Award from the University of Memphis School of Health Studies. I had no idea I was nominated.”

After New Mexico came graduate school at the University of Memphis, a process which White explained. “Grad school for nutrition is weird because basically it’s a medical residency. You apply to a bunch of schools and they match you based on how the schools rank you. It’s very intense. I wanted to go to Memphis because my sister was an undergrad at Rhodes College, but she transferred to Auburn. I went on to earn a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and I had a dietitian internship, it was both combined. The program basically took a year and a half.”

So now it’s time for White’s impressive list of professional designations which include MS for her Master of Science degree from the University of Memphis; RD for Registered Dietitian; CSSD for Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, which is a Board Certification; CSCS which is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist; and LD is a Licensed Dietitian in the State of Hawaii, interestingly a designation the state of California doesn’t have.

Eight years ago, White married Lt. Michael Hatch, who is a Navy Helicopter Pilot assigned to HSM71. “We met when a mutual friend introduced us, when we were both in college. He’s from Mobile as well. It was pretty random.”

The couple lived in Hawaii for four years, during which time White earned her U.S. Professional Tennis Association Teaching Pro certification, and taught tennis at the Bruce Nagel Tennis Academy at the Kailua Racquet Club for four years. For a total of just over three and one-half years, White worked with Naval Special Warfare as a Sports Dietitian. “The human performance and nutrition program for the SEALs was built from Admiral William McRaven seeing the collegiate athletic model, where you have a strength coach, a physical therapist, an athletic trainer, a doctor, a sports psychologist and a sports dietitian. It was a well-rounded holistic approach. The SEALs have been at war since 2001 and they were getting run down. At the beginning of the program, we were seeing changes in guys. Some of the older guys said, ‘It’s so nice we have this. Where was this 20 years ago?’ They used to have one dietitian for the whole Navy and there is one per group now.”

In August 2016, White and her husband moved to Coronado and White took a job coaching Boys and Girls Tennis at Francis Parker High School. She wound up coaching the Parker Boys team to a CIF Division II title in 2018. She said, “I liked coaching at Parker, they have great kids and a great staff. They don’t have courts on campus and a lot of what I had to do was logistical transportation with kids. When Coronado Coach David Brummitt resumed his flying career, I applied for the tennis coaching job across the street from my house in Coronado.”

White talked about her first year at CHS. “I was really impressed with how well our team played and was focused for our matches. They all wanted to play in the post-season. We had a pretty young team and going into the season, they all had the mindset that other teams thought they were terrible sports. Now we have good players and good sports and I am very pleased with that.”

Back to her U.S. Olympic Team commitments, in addition to South Korea, White will be going to the Track & Field World Championships in September and October in Doha, Qatar. She described her process with incoming athletes. “If they train out of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, they can send me an E-mail or text on whatever they need. We figure out what they are eating and doing and how we can fix it. Or they can just vent about something. Basically we are using the SEAL model with different providers, and the athletes are aware of who the providers are. If a massage therapist or a physical therapist notices they are having a problem, they say, ‘Go see Mackenzie.’ Plus we do monthly conference calls to track all the athletes, and we are always eyes-on. Somebody may say, ‘This person may need to talk to you.’ At this point, if they ran or jumped in college, most big universities have dietitians. Somebody texted me the other day about eating cereal before they go to sleep. If you are an athlete, you might need that to recover, especially if you are a sprinter. It depends on the athlete and what their needs are.”

White discussed what would be happening later in 2019 and beyond. “After October when Track and Field is over, basically that’s the off season. Then we start the building process for the Olympics. We’ll know who has qualified, and they will have a couple of additional opportunities to qualify in track and swimming. Alicia Kendig Glass is over me and she is the Head Dietitian for the Olympics and in charge of doing the coordination. Hopefully she’ll want me for the Olympics in Japan in 2020.”

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