“Paul Dietzel”

Every college football coach has one, maybe more, teams he had all sorts of trouble beating.

For Paul Dietzel, who died Sept. 24 at age 89, that team was Tennessee.

Dietzel was head coach at LSU (1955–1961), Army (1962–1965), and South Carolina (1966–1974), compiling a career record of 109–95–5.

He first coached on Shields-Watkins Field on Nov. 7, 1959, bringing a heavily favored LSU team in for Homecoming as the No. 1 team in the nation and defending national champions. Tennessee pulled off the upset that day, winning 14-13.

That was the day of “The Stop,” when Wayne Grubb, Bill Majors, and Charles Severance stopped 1959 Heisman winner Billy Cannon short of the goal line at the northeast corner on a two-point conversion try early in the fourth quarter.

That was the most famous of his forays against Tennessee, followed by a 21-0 loss in 1965 while at Army, and four losses while head man at South Carolina, 29-17 in 1966, 29-14 in 1969, 20-18 in 1970, and 35-6 in 1971.

Found this quote from Dietzel that seems to summarize his career, outlook, and sense of perspective.

“Every time I had mediocre athletes, I was a mediocre coach,” he said. “Every time I had good athletes, I was a pretty good coach. And when I had great athletes, just overnight, I became a great coach.”

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013