USC Great Charles White Dead at 64


Former Heisman Trophy winner and Los Angeles Rams running back Charles White | Image by Rams Wire/USA Today Sports

University of Southern California legendary running back and 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 64.

White still holds the Trojans’ all-time rushing yards record with 6,245 and was USC’s third Heisman Trophy winner. During his time at USC, he led the team in rushing for three consecutive seasons, won two Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player awards, and helped them win the 1978 national championship.

As a senior in 1979, he served as a team captain, won the Heisman, and also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell (best player in college football), and Pop Warner awards. He left USC as the NCAA’s second-leading rusher all-time and set 22 NCAA, USC, and PAC-12 records throughout his career.

“He was the toughest player I’ve ever coached,” said John Robinson, White’s head coach at USC and the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL. “He was really unusual in that regard. He was a great player and just loved playing the game. Those are the things I remember the most. He was a really tough guy, and he was an extremely gifted athlete. But the toughness … wow!”

“Charles White was one of the all-time great Trojans,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn added. “A Rose Bowl legend, a two-time unanimous All-American, and an NCAA record-setter, he made USC proud donning the Cardinal and Gold.”

White was selected by the Cleveland Browns during the 1980 NFL Draft and spent nine seasons in the NFL with Cleveland and Los Angeles. He finished his professional career with 3,075 rushing yards and led the league in rushing during an All-Pro 1987 season.

He returned to USC as an assistant in the athletic department in 1990 and joined Robinson’s coaching staff in 1993 as running backs coach — where he remained until 1997.

White was enshrined in the USC athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also named to the Pac-12’s All-Century team in 2015.

Several former USC players also expressed their condolences on social media including former quarterbacks Sean Salisbury and Matt Leinart and former running back Reggie Bush.

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