SAN DIEGO (CNS) – James Clyde Dietz, San Diego State University’s head baseball coach from 1972 to 2002, died Sunday in Florence, Ore. He was 83.
He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, his wife Carol told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
After coaching the freshman basketball team and the junior varsity baseball team at the University of Oregon, Dietz was appointed as the head basketball coach at Lewis-Clark Normal School, now Lewis-Clark State College, in May 1971, but turned down that offer a week later to take the head baseball coaching position at San Diego State.
Dietz had the most wins — 1,230 — in Aztecs history, with a winning percentage of .620.
Under Dietz, the Aztecs went to the NCAA Tournament eight times (1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1991) while winning the Western Athletic Conference five times (three regular season, two tournaments) and the Mountain West twice (one regular season, one conference).
In fall 2001, Tony Gwynn was hired to replace Dietz at San Diego State following the 2002 season.
Dietz was inducted by SDSU into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019, 17 years after he retired. He was a two-time Western Athletic Conference coach of the year.
Dietz sent 26 players to the major leagues, including Gwynn, Bud Black, Travis Lee and Dave Smith.
He is survived by his wife Carol, son Steve, daughter Jenny and several grandchildren.
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