Yesterday’s edition of Indian Country Today includes an article by Jack McNeel on Lone Star Dietz. The headline, which probably wasn’t written by Mr. McNeel, understandably focuses on Dietz’s posthumous induction recently into the College Football Hall of Fame. But the article covers more than that. He covered as much of Dietz’s highly eventful life as space would allow.
Something I particularly like is that McNeely chose to use a photograph of Dietz with the Washington State team that isn’t widely used. It’s nice to see something you haven’t seen before. In this case, I probably saw it briefly when going through the Washington State photo archives some years ago but didn’t remember seeing it.
There are a few things in the article that need a little bit of clarification. First, Tournament of Roses wasn’t arranging its annual football game in the fall of 1915 because they had only hosted a game once before and that was back in 1902. The Washington State victory over Brown in 1916 was what established the game as an annual event and much of the credit for that goes to Lone Star Dietz for putting West Coast football on the same level as the eastern powers.
The statement, “Soon after, many college sports were suspended for World War I,” may compress the timeframe too much for readers unaware of what happened during that period. Dietz’s men lost two games in 1916 and were undefeated again in 1917 but weren’t invited to Pasadena because of the popularity of military teams. It was after the 1917 season that college sports were curtailed freeing Dietz to coach many of his former players on the Mare Island Marines team.
The phrase “Indian agent from the Sioux Nation” may be misleading and cause unfamiliar readers to think the agent was an Indian. The agent was a white man assigned to the Pine Ridge Agency, one of several reservations on which Sioux live.
“Benjey’s research indicates that Dietz’s father took the dead baby…” would more accurately be phrased, Benjey’s research indicates that Dietz’s father claimed to have taken the dead baby…. However, W. W. Deitz (he spelled his name differently that Lone Star spelled it) denied that publicly.
Here is a link to the article: