Former USC football coach Dietzel seriously ill

bspear@thestate.comSeptember 9, 2013 

Paul Dietzel, former USC football coach and athletics director

FILE PHOTO

Paul Dietzel, USC’s director of athletics and head football coach from 1966-74, is seriously ill with a blood disorder at his home in Baton Rouge, La.

Columbia attorney Johnny Gregory, captain of Dietzel’s 1968 Carolina team, said the coach had been hospitalized before being released late last week.

Dietzel, who celebrated his 89th birthday last week, compiled a 42-53-1 record in his nine seasons at USC. His 1969 squad won the school’s only conference football championship, taking the Atlantic Coast Conference title and earning a berth in the Peach Bowl.

He also is remembered for upgrading athletic facilities and expanding the overall athletic program at USC. During his tenure, he led the expansion of Williams-Brice Stadium and emphasized non-revenue sports. His hiring of former New York Yankees star Bobby Richardson ignited the USC baseball program into national prominence.

Dietzel served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and got into coaching after graduation from college. He worked under legends Paul “Bear” Bryant at Kentucky and Earl “Red” Blaik at the U.S. Military Academy.

He took over the LSU program in 1956 and two years later guided the Tigers to the national championship. He gained fame with that squad by developing three “teams” to comply with the single-substitution rules of the time. His starters played both ways, his second unit specialized on offense and his third team -- called the Chinese Bandits -- focused on defense.

Dietzel left LSU to become head coach at West Point, then moved to Carolina after Marvin Bass’ resignation in 1966. After his USC tenure, he served as director of athletics at Indiana University and LSU as well as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference.

In retirement, he became an accomplished artist, specializing in water colors.

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