Yesterday, the College Football Hall of Fame announced its induction class of 2008 and Lone Star Dietz was again not selected for induction. It also announced that it has renamed the Division I-A class to the Football Bowl Subdivision class. How ironic. If it hadn’t been for Dietz’s showmanship and coaching acumen, the Rose Bowl may have not gotten off the ground. Countless bowl games might not exist if Lone Star’s Washington State team hadn’t upset Fritz Pollard’s Brown team in 1916. Had Dietz’s team performed as had Stanford did in 1902 against Michigan, they might still be holding chariot races and donkey polo games after the Rose Parade. Instead, he showed the country that Pacific Coast football (or at least his team) was the equal of eastern powers and with that New Year’s Day football became a tradition.
But Lone Star Dietz wasn’t a one-trick pony. He turned around a number of ailing programs and still ended his career with a Hall-of-Fame worthy won-loss record. Some would think that winning over 60% of his games at previously losing institutions would be miraculous. Pundits did when they dubbed him “Miracle Man” for turning around the Haskell program. Doing what he did is a lot harder than inheriting a football dynasty and maintaining a winning record. Many of those dynasties fatten up their records on teams like the ones Dietz turned into winners.
It’s not just about the numbers; it’s also about how they got the numbers and Dietz got them the hard way.