TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State University Sports Hall of Famer Wilford “Whizzer” White passed away on Thursday. He was 84 years old.
The viewing for WIlford "Whizzer" White will be Wednesday, August 7 between 6-8 p.m. at the Bunker Family Funeral Home, 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, Ariz., 85201. The funeral will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 933 East Brown Road, Mesa, Ariz., 85203 at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 8.
White, a charter inductee into both the ASU Sports Hall of Fame and the Sun Devil Ring of Honor, was a running back from 1947-50 and finished his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3,173 yards.
His No. 33 was retired by the school and is one of only five numbers retired and taken out of use.
“Our thoughts are with the White family as we celebrate the life of not only one of our all-time great athletes, but one of our all-time great Sun Devils,” Vice President for University Athletics Steve Patterson said.
A pioneering legend that paved the way for much of the football program’s success in the late 1950s, 60s and 70s, White was the school’s first football star as he rose to national prominence during his All-American season in 1950.
He led the program to nine wins for the first time in school history and defeated Arizona for the second consecutive year after losses to the Wildcats in the previous 11 meetings.
White’s 1,502 rushing yards in 1950 remain the second-highest single-season mark in school annals and his 150.2 yards per game that season still ranks as the top mark. His 22 touchdowns and 136 points, including a school-record 30 against Idaho, are both single-season school records.
“Whizzer embodied all of the attributes of the Sun Devil Way that we teach our players,” head football coach Todd Graham said. “The mark he left on this program will always echo through Sun Devil Stadium.”
White’s legacy at ASU stretched beyond his playing days, however, as his son, Danny, was the Sun Devils' quarterback from 1971-75 and left the school as its all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Danny played 13 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. His No. 11 was also retired and taken out of use.
"Whizzer" White is one of only four players in school history to rush for more than 3,000 yards and he currently ranks fourth on ASU’s all-time leading rushers list. White surpassed the 3,000-yard mark on just 505 carries, more than 100 fewer than the three other Devils who rank ahead of him.
He recorded 327 career points, the most for any position player, and his 48 career touchdown are tied for the second most in school history. He also holds the record for career punt return average and collected eight career interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns.
He tallied 16 career 100-yard games, third most in ASU history, and owns two of the school’s top five single-game rushing performances with 236 yards against Brigham Young and 232 against Northern Arizona, both in 1950.
White, who was born in Mesa on Sept. 26, 1928, and attended Mesa High School, was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 1951 NFL Draft.