Former NFL running back, 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White dies at 64

USC Charles White
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Former NFL running back Charles White, who won the 1979 Heisman Trophy, died of cancer Wednesday in Newport Beach, California, USC announced. White was 64.

White, who led the Trojans to the 1978 national championship, remains the school’s career rushing yards leader with 6,245. He scored 49 touchdowns.

He lettered four seasons at USC and twice was a unanimous All-American. White set 22 NCAA, Pac-10, USC and Rose Bowl records.

He was a three-time all-conference first-teamer, was USC’s team MVP in 1978 and ’79 and finished fourth in Heisman voting as a junior.

He was USC’s rushing leader in 1977 (1,478 yards), 1978 (1,859 yards) and 1979 (2,050 yards), as well as the school’s total offense leader in 1978 (1,854 yards), scoring leader in 1978 (86 points) and 1979 (114 points) and kickoff return leader in 1976 (295 yards).

White had 31 career 100-yard rushing games, including 10 in 1979.

He is a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, having won player of the game honors twice. The Trojans won three Rose Bowls and four bowl games with White.

He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He made the Pac-12 All-Century Team in 2015.

White also was a hurdler on USC’s 1979 track team.

The Browns made White a first-round pick in 1980, and he spent five years in Cleveland before four seasons with the Rams. In 1987, White led the league in rushing (1,374 yards) and rushing touchdowns (11) in earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

He returned to USC in 1990 as a special assistant to the athletic director. In 1993, he became an assistant football coach in charge of the Trojan running backs and held that position through 1997 before taking an administrative job at the school.

White is survived by his ex-wife Judianne White-Basch, their children Nicole White, Julian White, Tara White, Ashton White and Sophia White, and granddaughter Giovanna Hemmen.

Memorial service details are pending.

14 responses to “Former NFL running back, 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White dies at 64

  1. This guy would line up in that traditional USC tailback position and just tear it up. One of the best college running backs ever, if you never got to see him play trust me when I tell you how good he was. Condolences to the family.

  2. I was living in Malibu right after Charles left USC. Met him a few times, he was trying to be an actor. He was a great guy. When I die I’ll be forgotten, you won’t be Charles. Rest in peace bro.

  3. One of the most exciting players to watch. I idolise Charles White growing up. RIP to one of the greatest college and NFL running backs of all time.

  4. RIP, I remember him going over the top for a TD in the Rose Bowl against Michigan. One of the great college backs from my childhood, right after Dorsett, Earl Campbell, and Billy Sims, and just before Curt Warner from PSU, and Herschel Walker

  5. He might have been the greatest college tailback of all time. Always seemed like a class act. May he RIP.

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