|HometownEast Orange, NJ|
Daryl White joined the Huskers in 1970 as a scholarship offensive tackle. At 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds, White came to NU from East Orange, New Jersey.
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The following Q&A ran in The World-Herald on Sept. 16, 2016.
Daryl White spent more than 40 years either teaching or working with students, and the former Nebraska offensive lineman is still doing some coaching despite retiring after the 2014-15 school year.
Part of the reason for his career path, White said, can be traced to playing for Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Monte Kiffin.
“They influenced me 100 percent,” White said. “I coached my kids the way those three gentlemen coached us. Coach Devaney would get on you, don’t get me wrong, but he always got on me in the right way. Coach Osborne was the same way — a little quieter than Coach Devaney, but you had to respect him and he was a tremendous coach.”
Kiffin was on the defensive side, but he was the assistant who recruited White out of East Orange, New Jersey.
“I wouldn’t have come to Nebraska if not for him,” White said. “My mother loved him. My mother was an extremely good judge of character. And when Coach Kiffin came to our house and he left, my mother said, ‘Daryl, that man is very honest.’ ”
Nebraska got a lineman who would start at left tackle as a sophomore on the 1971 national championship team. White would finish his career as an All-American and Husker co-captain in 1973 after being All-Big Eight and a third-team All-American in 1972.
White, 64, taught English for 26 years at Orange High, and coached football, wrestling and track. He spent administrative time in Newark, working at the high school and middle school levels with students coming out of incarceration.
He currently lives in West Orange and still coaches football at Caldwell High and fencing at Columbia High, and said he will continue as long as he can because, “I still really, really, really enjoy it.”
Some Husker memories from White, who was a sixth-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1974 and played briefly in the NFL:
Q: Did Nebraska get Rich Glover (Jersey City) because of you, or you because of Rich Glover?
A: I think Coach Kiffin first came to my high school, and I think somehow got word from my coach or someone else about this other kid. My high school was in Essex County, and I guess they told him there was a real good player in Hudson County. And that was Richie.
Q: Did you know about Glover?
A: No. The first time I met him was on the plane coming to Lincoln for our recruiting trip. He was very similar to me. I liked his temperament, and he seemed to be a really nice guy.
Q: Why travel halfway across the country to go to Nebraska?
A: On that recruiting trip, I think me and Richie kind of clicked. I took three other trips, but I had already decided — we had already decided — before we came home.
Q: What were those other visits?
A: Ohio State and South Carolina were two, and I would have been the first African-American to get an athletic scholarship in any sport at the University of South Carolina. And this is really interesting, the other school I took a trip to was Marshall — and if I had gone to that school, I might not be talking to you right now.
(Editor’s note: 36 members of the Marshall football team were killed in a plane crash in November 1970 in Huntington, West Virginia).
Q: How good did the Nebraska offensive line have to be just to survive guys like Glover, Larry Jacobson, Willie Harper and John Dutton in practice?
A: You had to know your craft, because they would definitely test you. I think the competition we had just made us better, both them defensively and us offensively. And we hit an awful lot more than they have live contact now.
Q: You were the young guy on that 1971 line. How did the veterans help with getting settled?
A: They made it easy. We had some really good guys. Doug Dumler and Keith Wortman and Carl Johnson, they just accepted me. And any questions I had or things I needed help with, they were always there to give you a helping hand and support. That first game was against the University of Oregon, and they had Dan Fouts and Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad), and we beat ’em bad (34-7).
Q: Was the Orange Bowl against Notre Dame after the 1972 season (300 yards rushing, 260 passing, 40 points) almost the perfect offensive performance?
A: Johnny (Rodgers) had a tremendous game, but we just physically beat them. We were a pretty physical team. You had to be ready because we were definitely going to pound.
Q: Out of 1971, ’72 and ’73, which would you call the best offensive team?
A: The best offense was the ’71 team, but the most talented was the ’72 team. Dave Humm was tremendously talented, but that (’72) was his sophomore year. But Jerry Tagge was just like a coach on the field. He had all the intangibles that Dave didn’t have until he got older.
Q: The strength program was just taking hold when you got to Nebraska. Were you on board or did you need to be convinced?
A: I loved it. It helped you with your strength, it helped you with your speed, it helped you mentally. It was invaluable.
Q: You were all-state in baseball and lettered three years in basketball. Which of those could you maybe have played in college if not for football?
A: I’d say baseball was maybe my best sport, maybe even better than football. I played first base, could really hit the ball. I had a tryout with the Baltimore Orioles between my junior and senior year.
Q: What was it like finding out Coach Devaney was stepping down when you still had a season left?
A: It was kind of a shock and it was bittersweet, but everybody knows when it’s their time to go, and I guess he felt it was his time. And you have to respect him for that. I was very glad that Coach Osborne got it.
Q: What did you like or not like about living in Lincoln?
A: I liked everything about living in Lincoln, because it was so different from where I came from. Nobody locked their doors. I remember when I first got there, I said, ‘You guys don’t lock your doors?’ They said they didn’t need to. It wasn’t like that in East Orange.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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