Former LSU coach Dietzel dies at 89

Paul Dietzel coached at LSU, Army and South Carolina. He led LSU to its first national championship. (AP file photo)

Paul Dietzel coached at LSU, Army and South Carolina. He led LSU to its first national championship. (AP file photo)

By Janet McConnaughey

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Paul Dietzel, who led the LSU Tigers to their first football national championship, has died at age 89.

LSU spokesman Kent Lowe says Dietzel died early Tuesday after a brief illness but didn’t provide any other details. The Dietzel family also posted an online notice of his death.

Dietzel coached LSU from 1955 until 1961, and later Army and South Carolina. He also broadcast Southern Conference football games and helped create Samford University’s athletics department before returning to LSU as athletics director from 1978 until 1982.

Dietzel was the last living member of the staff that guided LSU to an undefeated season and national championship in 1958. The Tigers beat Clemson in the 1959 Sugar Bowl.

Dietzel’s memoir “Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football” was published in 2008.