The collegiate community is mourning the death of legendary LSU football coach Paul Dietzel, who died Tuesday at age 89.
Dietzel, who led the Tigers to the school's first national championship in 1958, passed away after a brief illness.
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"Our family has lost a humble leader and loving dad and granddad; the world of athletics has lost a visionary and gridiron legend," Dietzel's family posted at coachdpauldietzel.com
. "Those of us who have been blessed to live alongside, work or play for Coach have lost a caring friend, an uplifting mentor and a man of God. Coach died peacefully and is at his heavenly home. He leaves behind his dear wife Anne, daughter Kathie DuTremble, son Steve, daughter-in-law Judy Dietzel, grandsons David DuTremble and Paul Dietzel II, and countless athletes through the decades that Coach considered his own."
Dietzel turned 89 on Sept. 5, and would've celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary to wife Anne on Wednesday.
LSU's win over Clemson in the 1959 Sugar Bowl capped an undefeated season for the Tigers, and Dietzel was the last surviving member of that staff. He coached LSU from 1955 through the 1962 Sugar Bowl, and also guided Army (1962-65) and South Carolina (1966-74). Later, he helped build Samford University's athletic department before coming back to LSU as athletic director from 1978-82.
His overall record was 109-95-5, but he went 46-24-3 at LSU.
"He loved this school, and he loved his association with our team," LSU coach Les Miles told The Advocate on Tuesday
. "He was a very, very special man. Tiger Nation will miss him, and I'll miss him."
"Coach Dietzel was a man of great honor and integrity. He was the perfect role model for young people, and I will always cherish the moments that I was able to spend with him," LSU Vice Chancellor and athletics director Joe Alleva said in a statement. "Looking back at what he accomplished here at LSU, he was way ahead of his time as a football coach. His 1958 national championship set LSU on a path of being what it is today."
LSU went 3-5-2 in Dietzel's first season in 1955, despite having future Green Bay Packers star Jim Taylor at running back.
Dietzel published a memoir "Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football" in 2008. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
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