‘Gentleman’ Carl White dead at 94

Published 7:37 pm Saturday, April 27, 2024



The Gentleman of Ironton Athletics, Carl White, died on Thursday at the age of 94.

Email newsletter signup

White was an outstanding all-around player for Ironton who played football at Eastern Kentucky where he was a roommate to Roy Kidd, the EKU Hall of Fame football coach.

White never stopped playing golf. In fact, he played five holes in January before the cold weather and his age began to win that round.

White had the longest membership at the Ironton Country Club, joining in 1955.

His brother-in-law Bill Osborne took him golfing and he asked his mother if he could join. The cost was $5 a year and White — one of 15 children — promised his mother he would quit smoking if she allowed him to join the country club.

“She said OK but  his promise to quit smoking didn’t last that long,” said his daughter Faith Sutherand with a chuckle.

White was a four-sport star in football, basketball, baseball and track at Ironton. He served as team captain in both football and basketball his senior year.

The 1949 Ironton High School graduate was an All-Ohio selection who played in the North/South All-Star Game and was named the Robert E. Christian winner as the best senior athlete.

White played football and baseball at Eastern Kentucky University. He was a three-year starter as a defensive back and was the backup quarterback.

Following his senior year, he was contacted by the Green Bay Packers about committing to the NFL draft. However, White was enrolled in the ROTC program and entered the U.S. Army upon graduation.

“My dad saw someone he knew from Ironton who was wearing a nice jacket and the man told him he could get one if he joined the ROTC. So, he joined,” Sutherand said.

While in the service, White played football and baseball for the First Infantry in Germany and was player-coach for the baseball team. The coach of the team was transferred and an officer asked White to take over the team as the coach. The baseball team advanced to the G.F. World Series and lost the series in seven games.

After the service, White served as an assistant football coach from 1955-56 at Coal Grove. He was an assistant football coach at Ironton from 1957-60 and was the head coach the next three seasons.

White was the head baseball coach in 1961 when Ironton resurrected its baseball program and won the sectional title. Ironton lost 2-1 in the district tournament to Gallipolis and future Major League Baseball pitching standout Dave Roberts.

Ironton’s only run was a home run by Mike Burcham who talked White into coaching the team.

“They dropped it for 10 years and we got it started back our senior year. He was the football coach, backfield coach, secondary coach and baseball coach. He took over as head coach the next year,” said Burcham.

“He was good, but he was strict. They told us how great of a player he was. He was a super football player and baseball player.

“And Coach White was a Reds fan from the word go. He listened to them every day and when they started cutting them on TV he watched them every day. And he was a great golfer. He hit a golf ball really well. He shot in the 80s and sometimes the 70s.”

White’s funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.