Charles White, the legendary USC tailback and Heisman Trophy winner left an indelible mark on the game. Learn about the challenges he faced, including his struggles with drug addiction and his relationship with his wife Judianne White-Basch.
Discover his early life, college career, struggles in the NFL, and eventual return to USC as a coach and administrator. This is a must-read for any football fan and will give you a deeper understanding of one of the game’s greatest players.
Charles White’s Passing: The Loss of a Football Legend and USC’s Career-Rushing Leader
The football world mourned the loss of Charles White, the legendary USC tailback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1979 and passed away on Wednesday, January 11th at the age of 64. USC announced the death of White, who was still the Trojans’ career rushing leader with 6,245 yards. The nine-year NFL veteran died of cancer in Newport Beach, California, the school said.
White’s passing was a great loss to the football community, as he was remembered as one of the toughest and most gifted athletes to ever play the game.
“He was the toughest player I’ve ever coached,” said John Robinson, White’s former head coach at USC and 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!”
No cause of death was provided by USC, but White was reported by the Los Angeles Times last July to be battling dementia. Despite the challenges he faced in his later years, White’s legacy as a football legend and USC’s career rushing leader will always be remembered by the football community and Trojan family.
Charles White’s Relationship with his wife Judianne White-Basch: A Love Story Amidst Struggles
Charles White had a tumultuous relationship with his wife, Judianne White-Basch. The couple met while they were both students at USC, where White was a star athlete on the football team and Judianne was a fellow student. The two fell in love and eventually got married, but White’s drug addiction caused major challenges in their relationship.
White struggled with cocaine and marijuana use while he was a student at USC. He acknowledged using marijuana regularly at USC and snorting his first line of cocaine a few weeks before the 1977 Rose Bowl in a 1987 Sports Illustrated piece. Despite this, he and Judianne continued to be devoted to each other, and they had a daughter together.
However, White’s drug addiction continued to affect their relationship. He entered drug rehab in 1982 and was able to maintain his sobriety for three years, but he relapsed after the Los Angeles Rams picked him up on waivers in 1985, reuniting him with his old college coach John Robinson. White’s addiction caused significant strain on his marriage and eventually, he and Judianne got divorced.
A Devoted Father to his Children Despite the Challenges
Despite the challenges they faced, White remained close to his children, Nicole White, Julian White, Tara White, Ashton White, Sophia White, and granddaughter Giovanna Hemmen, who he had with Judianne. White was remembered as a devoted father and grandfather, who loved his family deeply. He also had the love and support of Judianne who stood by him throughout his struggles.
Despite the difficulties of his addiction and the end of his marriage, White was able to turn his life around and become a respected member of the USC community, serving as a coach and administrator for the football team. His relationship with Judianne was a testament to the resilience and love that can exist in the face of adversity.
Charles White Early Life, From Los Angeles to Football Stardom
Charles White was born on January 22, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, White developed a passion for sports from a young age. He attended San Fernando High School, where he competed in track and field and football. White was a standout athlete at San Fernando, and he was heavily recruited by colleges for his talent on the football field.
White’s high school career was marked by numerous achievements and accolades. At the CIF California State Meet, he defeated future Olympic gold medalist, Edwin Moses, in the 300-meter hurdles. White was also a star on the football team, setting records and earning multiple awards. After graduating from high school, White received scholarship offers from many top college football programs but ultimately decided to attend USC.
Charles White Football Career, A Legacy of Records and Awards”
Charles White’s football career was one of the most accomplished and decorated in the history of college and professional football. After a stellar career at USC, where he won the Heisman Trophy and was a part of the national championship team, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1980. Despite his impressive college career. White struggled to find success in the NFL, but he remained determined to prove himself as a top player.
At USC, White’s career was marked by records, awards, and accolades. He was a 4-year letter winner for USC (1976–77–78–79) and a two-time unanimous All-American (1978–79). He set 22 NCAA, Pac–10, USC, and Rose Bowl records, and he was USC’s third Heisman Trophy winner. Charles led the country in rushing in 1979 and captained the Trojans.
He also received the Pop Warner, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Awards in 1979 as a senior. He was a three-time member of the All-Conference first team (1977, 1978, and 1979). The team MVP for USC in 1978 and 1979, and the 1978 Voit Trophy winner.
Despite the disappointment in his NFL career, White’s determination and passion for the game never wavered. After his playing days were over, he returned to USC as an assistant coach and administrator. Where he continued to be a beloved figure and an inspiration to the players he mentored.
White’s career was not without its challenges, including his struggles with drug addiction. But he was able to overcome them and make a positive impact on the sport of football. He is remembered as a true legend, whose records and awards will stand the test of time, and whose passion and dedication to the game will always be admired.