Paul Dietzel
Biographical details
Born(1924-09-05)September 5, 1924
Fremont, Ohio, U.S.
DiedSeptember 24, 2013(2013-09-24) (aged 89)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Playing career
1946–1947Miami (OH)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1948Army (line)
1949–1950Cincinnati (line)
1951–1952Kentucky (line)
1953–1954Army (line)
1966–1974South Carolina
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1966–1974South Carolina
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
1 national (1958)
2 SEC (1958, 1961)
1 ACC (1969)
Second-team Little All-American (1947)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1958)
FWAA Coach of the Year (1958)
SEC Coach of the Year (1958)
ACC Coach of the Year (1969)

Paul Franklin Dietzel (September 5, 1924 – September 24, 2013) was an American college football player, coach, and athletics administrator. He served as the head coach at Louisiana State University (1955–1961), the United States Military Academy (1962–1965), and the University of South Carolina (1966–1974), compiling a career head coaching record of 109–95–5. Dietzel's 1958 LSU team concluded an 11–0 season with a win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and was a consensus national champion. For his efforts that year, Dietzel was named the National Coach of the Year by both the American Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association of America. Dietzel also served as the athletic director at South Carolina (1966–1974), Indiana University Bloomington (1977–1978), LSU (1978–1982), and Samford University (1985–1987).

Playing career

Dietzel began his football career in Mansfield, Ohio, where his high school team went undefeated and tied for second in the state. After high school, he was given a scholarship to play football at Duke University. After one year at Duke, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. From there he moved on to Miami University of Ohio, where he played center for coach Sid Gillman. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 26th round of the 1948 NFL Draft.[1]

Coaching career

After graduating from Miami in 1948, Dietzel began his coaching career as an assistant coach. He served under such legendary coaches as Red Blaik at Army and Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky.

In 1955, Dietzel became the head coach at LSU.[2] During Dietzel's first three years, none of his teams had a winning season.

In 1958, however, Dietzel came up with a unique three-team platoon system. It consisted of three teams of 11 different players, and was designed to keep his players from being fatigued in an era when most players started on both offense and defense. Instead of replacing individual players during the game, Dietzel would bring in an entirely new set of players between plays and series. The three teams were called the White Team (the first-string offense and defense), the Gold (Go) Team (the second-string offense), and the Chinese Bandits (the second-string defense). The system worked, as the Tigers went undefeated and won the national championship. The Chinese Bandits, the second-string defensive unit, which consisted of less-talented but ferocious players, became hugely popular with LSU fans and remains one of the most legendary pieces of LSU football history.[3]

After 1958, Dietzel continued to have success at LSU. His teams finished with 9–1 regular seasons in 1959 and 1961, finishing No. 3 and No. 4 in the final AP Poll. The 1959 team was ranked first in the country in both wire-service polls until losing to the Tennessee Volunteers, 14–13, in the eighth game of the season. LSU concluded the season with a 21–0 loss to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, two months after the top-ranked Tigers beat the third-ranked Rebels 7–3 in Tiger Stadium on Billy Cannon's 89-yard punt return, a play that helped win Cannon the Heisman Trophy.

Dietzel's final game as LSU's coach was the 1962 Orange Bowl, in which LSU defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 25–7.[4] After the 1961 season, Dietzel accepted the head coaching job at Army. He was the first non-Army graduate to hold the position. In a 2005 article for the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, Louisiana, Dietzel said that leaving LSU was one of the hardest decisions he ever made. However, he was not able to match the success he had at LSU, compiling a record of 21–18–1 at Army.

Dietzel stayed at Army until 1966, when he became head coach and athletic director at the University of South Carolina. Despite coaching South Carolina to the school's only conference championship in football, the Atlantic Coast Conference title in 1969, Dietzel's overall record was only of 42–53–1. In 1974, amid intense fan pressure, Dietzel announced that he would resign at the end of the season, following an upset loss to Duke as the Gamecocks fell to 0–2.

Athletic administration career

As the South Carolina athletic director, Dietzel greatly improved the athletic facilities. During his tenure, Carolina Stadium, renamed Williams-Brice Stadium in 1972, grew from 42,000 seats at his arrival to 54,000 seats at his retirement.

He oversaw South Carolina's withdrawal from the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1971. Dietzel felt that the ACC's higher academic entrance requirements were preventing the South Carolina football program from signing talented players which could propel the program to national prominence. Dietzel has one other lasting legacy at South Carolina. During the first game of the 1968 season, Dietzel heard the school's band play an arrangement of the Broadway show tune "Step to the Rear" from How Now, Dow Jones. Dietzel liked it so much that he decided it should be the school's new fight song, and proceeded to write a new set of lyrics to the tune.[5] Later that season, the song, with Dietzel's lyrics, made its debut as "The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way", which has been Carolina's fight song ever since.[5] Dietzel also designed the Fighting Gamecock logo which is still in use today.[6]

Dietzel left coaching in 1975 to become the commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for one year. He then served as athletic director at Indiana University before returning to LSU in 1978. He was the school's athletic director from 1978 to 1982. Dietzel also served as president of the American Football Coaches Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Dietzel came out of retirement in 1983 to become Athletics Director at Samford University. He resigned in 1985 following the dismissal of Head Football Coach Kim Alsop over his objections.

Later life

After retiring from college athletics, Dietzel became a watercolor painter. He lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife, Anne, until his death.

In 2005, Dietzel, along with timber industrialist Roy O. Martin, Jr., the civil rights pioneer Andrew Young, country music artist Kix Brooks, and the LSU woman's basketball coach Sue Gunter were named a "Louisiana Legend" by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.[7]

Dietzel authored a book, Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football, that was published in September 2008 by the Louisiana State University Press.

He died on September 24, 2013, nineteen days after his 89th birthday.[8][9]

His namesake grandson, Paul Dietzel, II, of Baton Rouge was a Republican candidate for the open seat from Louisiana's 6th congressional district in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 4, 2014.[10]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
LSU Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (1955–1961)
1955 LSU 3–5–2 2–3–1 9th
1956 LSU 3–7 1–5 11th
1957 LSU 5–5 4–4 7th
1958 LSU 11–0 6–0 1st W Sugar 1 1
1959 LSU 9–2 5–1 T–2nd L Sugar 3 3
1960 LSU 5–4–1 2–3–1 8th
1961 LSU 10–1 6–0 T–1st W Orange 3 4
LSU: 46–24–3 26–16–2
Army Cadets (NCAA University Division independent) (1962–1965)
1962 Army 6–4
1963 Army 7–3
1964 Army 4–6
1965 Army 4–5–1
Army: 21–18–1
South Carolina Gamecocks (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1966–1970)
1966 South Carolina 1–9 1–3 7th
1967 South Carolina 5–5 4–2 3rd
1968 South Carolina 4–6 4–3 4th
1969 South Carolina 7–4 6–0 1st L Peach
1970 South Carolina 4–6–1 3–2–1 4th
South Carolina Gamecocks (NCAA University Division / Division I independent) (1971–1974)
1971 South Carolina 6–5
1972 South Carolina 4–7
1973 South Carolina 7–4
1974 South Carolina 4–7
South Carolina: 42–53–1 18–10–1
Total: 109–95–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

See also


  1. ^ "1948 NFL Draft". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  2. ^ LSU Gumbo Yearbook 1956, LSU Press, p. 318–319.
  3. ^ Chet Hilburn, The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football (Bloomington, Indiana: WestBow Press, 2012), p. 31
  4. ^ "1962 Orange Bowl: Blocked Punts Propel Tigers". Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  5. ^ a b The Carolina Bands Collection: Series I: Sheet Music (1914-2000s): 1/12 "Step to the Rear." The Music Library at the University of South Carolina website. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Inside the Chart with the "Voice of the Gamecocks" (9/25) | Spurs & Feathers | Aiken Communications". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Roy O. Martin, Jr. obituary". The Shreveport Times. March 24, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  8. ^ Former national champion LSU coach Paul Dietzel dead at age 89 -
  9. ^ Litsky, Frank (25 September 2013). "Paul Dietzel, Coach Who Led L.S.U. To Its First National Title, Dies at 89". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Election results 11/4/2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 5, 2014.