William Deacon White

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William Deacon White
Date of birth: December 6, 1878
Place of birth: Sheridan, Illinois
Date of death: November, 1939
Career information
CFL status: International
As coach:
Edmonton Esquimaux
Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton Elks
Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton Eskimos
As player:
1907 Edmonton Esquimaux
Career highlights and awards
1908, 13, 21, 22 - Alberta Rugby Football Championship

William Freeman "Deacon" White was a Hall of Fame Albertan sportsman. He was involved in the beginnings of several sports teams, but is remembered as the first coach in Edmonton Eskimos franchise history.[1]


Born in the United States,[2] White came to Edmonton in 1906 as player and manager of a touring baseball team.[3] He liked the city so much that he also took an interest in football, becoming the Edmonton Esquimaux first import player and also their coach. He led them to an Alberta Rugby Football Championship in 1908.[4]

In 1910 the Esquimaux changed their name to the Edmonton Eskimos (and later Elks) and White was their coach. This team was the franchise predecessor to the publicly owned Edmonton Eskimo Rugby Club, established in 1948. He coached the senior team during three different periods, compiling a 21 win, 11 loss and 1 tie record.[5] Most famously, he led the Eskimos to two Grey Cup finals, in 1921 and 1922. Though they lost both games, the Eskimos were the first western Canadian team to challenge for the Cup. In all, he coached 11 seasons, still an Eskimos franchise record.[6]

Baseball & Hockey[edit]

White's first love was baseball. He founded the Western Canada Baseball League. He also was a player, coach and manager of Edmonton Eskimos baseball team.[7] He also coached and managed the Edmonton Eskimos hockey club, taking them to the semi-finals of the Allan Cup in 1913.


White was inducted into the Alberta Sport Hall of Fame & Museum in 1990.[8]

He died at Chicago in November, 1939.