Charles White, who won the 1979 Heisman Trophy after leading USC to the college football national championship in 1978, died of cancer Wednesday in Newport Beach, California, USC announced. White was 64.
White 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.
White is part of a long line of dominant USC running backs. 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.
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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.
White won Rose Bowl player of the game honors twice, and is a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. 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.
White was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1980. He played for them for five years before returning to Los Angeles for four seasons with the Rams. His NFL career highligh was leading the league in rushing in 1987 with 1,374 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those stats earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.
He came back to his alma mater 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. He then took 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.
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