Danny White on Frank Kush, modern football and life after playing
Former Arizona State quarterback Danny White, like the rest of us, is limited in what he can do during this time. Not just because of the coronavirus pandemic, but also because of a recent back surgery.
“Well, I wake up watching the news, I then at about 9:00, 9:30, I watch Gunsmoke,” he told Arizona Sports on Wednesday. “Then I go back between the news and Gunsmoke. And then I make kind of an aggressive switch from Gunsmoke to Everybody Loves Raymond. And then before I go to bed at night, a little Seinfeld. So that’s the extent of my day. How exciting is that?”
He’s still waiting on getting healthy enough to play racketball or do other workouts that he normally would enjoy. But in the meantime, his interview with Doug & Wolf for Legends Week would have to help pass the time.
White, who played three years at Arizona State from 1971 to 1973, had 5,932 passing yards in 33 games with a 53.2% completion rate. He finished his college career with 59 touchdowns and 36 interceptions playing for Frank Kush, the now namesake of the field at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
ASU won the Fiesta Bowl all three years White was there, and the quarterback was drafted in the third round, 53rd overall, in 1974 by the Dallas Cowboys. It was there that he ran into another famous head coach, Tom Landry.
“If there were two men that had a dramatic influence on my life, not just my career, but my life — because really everything I have today, temporally speaking, is the result of the game of football,” White said. “And I was a baseball player growing up. And so it was Frank Kush that turned me from baseball to football and it was Tom Landry who gave me a chance to make a living at it.
“Those two men had more of an influence on me, other than my father, than any other men in my life.”
White’s time at ASU led to his time with the Cowboys, where he played 13 seasons and threw for nearly 22,000 yards. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1982.
“I can’t quote Frank Kush on the air, but there were a couple things that he said to me basically having to do with me being a weenie and not being very tough,” White said. “And it just motivated me somehow, because I wanted to prove to him that he was wrong about me. With coach Landry, he said things that made me want to prove that he was right about me.”
Now a football consultant and Sun Devil Club ambassador, White recognizes how much the game of football has changed. He cited a photo of his dad, Wilford White, making a catch while having blood all over his uniform and no facemask on his helmet.
“The game has changed so much and quarterbacks today put up just ungodly numbers and they make an ungodly amount of money for doing it,” he said. “I’d just like to get one 10th of what Dak Prescott is about to sign for. And I would have been set for life. And that’s also a problem in the league.
“I know this is getting off on a tangent, but guys today — and I watch them — their motivation is to get to that one point in their life when they can sign that one big contract, and then their goal for the rest of their career is don’t get hurt. Don’t get some kind of a debilitating injury that you’re going to suffer from for the rest of your life.”