Byron White Named One of NCAA's 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes
BOULDER - Former University of Colorado standout Byron "Whizzer" White was selected as one of the NCAA's 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes, as selected by a panel consisting of university presidents, athletic directors NCAA committee members, conference office representatives, SAAC representatives and NCAA staff.
A program showcasing this list from NCAA history was revealed on ESPN Classic Monday and will be re-aired on ESPNU.
The list of athletes, comprised as apart of the NCAA's Centennial Celebration, celebrates the professional accomplishments, athletic success and scope of achievement in the selected honorees.
White, who passed away on April 15, 2002, at the age of 84, became CU's first All-American in any sport when he led the football team to an 8-0 regular season record in 1937, as well as to CU's first bowl birth. He led the nation in rushing with a then record-breaking total of 1,121 yards, and amassed 122 points. Those marks, erased nationally only after colleges went to 10 and 11-game schedules, set CU records. He was known as a "60-minute performer," excelling on defense as well as offense.
He was also a .400 hitter on the baseball team and a standout on CU's basketball squad that made the N.I.T. in 1938. But his performance in the classroom exceeded his impressive ones outside of it. In 186 hours of undergraduate work, White earned 180 hours of A credits, and six hours of B credits. He was the student body president, a Rhodes Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa.
After his time at Colorado, the Wellington native went on to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Pirates (now known as the Steelers). White was Pittsburgh's first pick in the 1938 draft. "Whizzer" led the league in rushing with 567 yards in 1938, and was named All-Pro. White left professional football to attend post-graduate school at Oxford College in England. After Oxford, he played one more season of football with Detroit, and again led the league in rushing with 514 yards and was named All-Pro.
White attended Yale Law School during his NFL off-seasons, and during World War II, he was an officer in naval intelligence, serving most of his duty in the South Pacific. During his time of service, White earned a Bronze Star and former a friendship with John F. Kennedy.
Following the war, White returned to Yale Law School where he graduated first in his class in 1946. After a successful career as a corporation lawyer, White entered the political sphere in 1960, heading a pre-convention Kennedy movement that helped the soon-to-be president win the state of Colorado. White later served as deputy attorney general under Kennedy.
On March 30, 1962, White was appointed an associated justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at age 44. He served for 31 years, and retired in March 1993.
White was one of the first three athletes inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1965. He was also inducted into the NFL Hall-of-Fame, the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall-of-Fame, the GTE Academic Hall-of-Fame, and was selected to CU's Athletic Hall-of-Fame in 1998. White was a member of the 1940 NFL All-Decade team and was selected to CU's All-Century Team in 1989, marking the school's first 100 years of football. His football jersey number, 24, was the first retired by the University, and a life-sized bronze statue of White is on display on the club level of the Folsom Field suites.
ESPNU Re-Air Times
Tuesday, March 14 from 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15 from 5-7 p.m.
Thursday, March 16 from 4-5 a.m. (Part I) and 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Part II)
Wednesday, March 22 from 9-10 p.m. (Part I)
Friday, March 24 from 4-5 p.m. (Part II)
Thursday, April 20 from 10 p.m. to midnight
Saturday, May 6 from 6:30-8:30 a.m.
*all re-air dates and times are listed in mountain time and are subject to change