Call Him Coach: Paul Dietzel Remembered


Coach Paul Dietzel

Coach Paul Dietzel

Legendary Tigers coach Paul Dietzel passed away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on September 24, 2013, at the age of 89. Dietzel served as LSU’s football coach from 1955 through 1961, and as LSU’s Athletic Director from 1978 through 1982. He is probably best known for leading LSU to its first National Championship in 1958, one year before Billy Cannon’s legendary run, and for his career in athletics that carried him to numerous posts across the country.


Coach Dietzel (left)

Coach Dietzel (left) with Coach Charles McClendon

Dietzel (right) in 2008 promoting a book

Dietzel (right) in 2008 promoting a book















In this short oral history clip from 1993, former Athletic Director Carl Maddox speaks to interviewer Scott Purdy about Coach Dietzel’s method of discipline.



Scott Purdy:   Who made the decisions on discipline?  For instance, if one of your players, that you coached personally, one of your position players were to get out of line, who would reprimand the player?

Carl Maddox:   Well, of course there would be some dialogue with the position coach and the player, but the . . . Any discipline other than a chewing out would come from the head football coach.  He usually assigned. . . to the position coach, to oversee whatever discipline he meted out.  For instance, Coach [Paul] Dietzel had a policy of having the player get up early, say at five o’clock or five-thirty, before breakfast, and go out to the stadium and run the stadium.  And the position coach would go with his position players and watch them run the stadium, whether it was pouring down rain or not. 


The Center unfortunately never had the pleasure of sitting down with Dietzel for an oral history interview to ask him about his tenure as an LSU coach and Athletic Director.  However, staff was on hand on October 24, 2008, to record Coach Dietzel at the “LSU Press Presents: Call Them Champions” event,  held to promote Dietzel’s newly released book, Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football (LSU Press, 2008).  The panelists at this event included some of his former players:  Lynn LeBlanc, Gus Kinchen, Don Purvis, and Mike Rhoades.






Maddox, Carl, interview by Scott Purdy, audio recording, 1993, 4700.0233. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Dietzel, Paul, et al., recording of public lecture, 2009, 4700.1923.   Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.



Paul Dietzel: LSU Photograph Collection, RG #A5000, Louisiana State University Archives, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA.

Paul Dietzel and Charles McClendon: Charles East Papers, Mss. 3471, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA

Lynn LeBlanc, Gus Kinchen, Don Purvis, Mike Rhoades, and Paul Dieztzel.  Photograph by Jennifer A. Cramer, taken at LSU Press Presentation, “Call them Champions,” October 24, 2008.

LSU Tigers 1958 National Champions team photo


This podcast is copyrighted by LSU Libraries Special Collections.

For a full transcript of the podcast, please contact Jennifer Abraham at


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