USC standout RB and 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White dies at 64. This past Wednesday, Charles White passed away, the renowned USC tailback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1979. He was 64.
USC announced white’s death; he held the Trojans’ record of 6,245 yards in rushing. The school said the nine-year NFL veteran died from cancer in Newport Beach, California.
John Robinson, White’s former head coach at USC and with the Los Angeles Rams, said of White, “He was the toughest player I’ve ever taught.” “In that respect, he was truly exceptional. He was great at the game; he lived for the competition. To this day, those details stick out in my mind. He was an exceptionally talented athlete and a tough guy who could take care of himself. However, the resilience… astounding.”
White, a native of Los Angeles and a two-time All-American, led the Trojans to a national championship in 1978 and won the Heisman the following year as team captain and the country’s leading rusher. Three times in his career, White topped the Trojans in the running. After his senior year, he was honored with the Walter Camp, Maxwell, and Pop Warner prizes.
After the 1978 and 1979 seasons, he was recognized as the Rose Bowl’s Most Valuable Player both times. USC has a record eight Heisman winners, and White is still held in high esteem as the third of those victors.
“Charles White was one of the all-time great Trojans,” said USC athletic director Mike Bohn. He earned a place in USC folklore as a Rose Bowl icon, an All-American consensus pick twice, and an NCAA record holder while wearing the Cardinal and Gold.
Although he missed the 1983 season due to injury, White played for the Browns for five years after being selected 27th overall by Cleveland in the 1980 NFL Draft. In 1985, he signed with the Rams and finished his NFL career with 3,075 yards rushing while playing for Robinson.
After retiring from the NFL, he worked for Robinson again at USC from 1993 to 1997 as a running backs coach. Also, he worked in the Trojans’ administrative offices.
Judianne White-Basch, their five children, and a granddaughter are all alive after White’s death. Funeral arrangements are still being made.