Southern Cal running back and 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
White died in Newport Beach, Calif., the school said in an obituary.
White led USC to the 1978 national title and a 42-6-1 record in his four years. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
“He was the toughest player I’ve ever coached,” said John Robinson, White’s former coach at USC and in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. “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!”
White remains USC’s career rushing leader, with 6,245 yards. He scored 49 career touchdowns for the Trojans.
He rushed for 2,050 yards in 1979, tops in the nation en route to winning the Heisman.
White was selected No. 27 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 1980 draft and went on to rush for 3,075 yards and 23 TDs in an eight-year career with the Browns (1980-82, 1984) and Rams (1985-88).
He earned Pro Bowl and first team All-Pro honors in 1987, when he led the league with 1,374 yards rushing and 11 TDs.
White returned to USC in 1990 as a special assistant to the athletic director. In 1993, USC made him an assistant coach in charge of running backs, a position he held through 1997.
–Field Level Media