Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana Tech’

1923 Louisiana Tech-Centenary College Game

January 12, 2010

A reader submitted the photo included at the bottom of this post. I’m sorry that it isn’t clearer but this is what I was sent. I have never seen or even heard of one of these buttons before. It is purported to be a button for the 1923 Louisiana Tech-Centenary College annual Thanksgiving Day game. I can’t make out the date from the button but believe that it is authentic because Louisiana Tech played Centenary on Thanksgiving Day in 1922 and 1923, both years that Dietz coached in the Pelican State. Also, it seems unlikely that a forger would pick a relatively obscure event rather than one that would generate more interest (read a higher price). Let’s talk a little about Lone Star’s time in Ruston, Louisiana.

Lone Star coached the Bulldogs for two years compiling an 11-3-1 record with two of the losses coming at the hands of the Centenary Gentlemen. Less than half of those games were played at home at a time when strong teams generally played most of their games at home. (Note that Carlisle Indian School and Haskell Institute were strong teams that played most of their games on the road, a factor that makes their records all the more astounding.) Louisiana Tech had done well before Dietz’s arrival but against weaker opposition. He was apparently hired to upgrade the program and he did.

No reason was given for Dietz’s departure for Wyoming but money cannot be discounted. Wyoming wanted to upgrade its program and hired Dietz to do that. Also, Dietz had remarried in early 1922 to a woman from Indiana and may have needed more income. Even when single, the dapper Dietz was never known as being a miser.

Dietz’s history of putting life into previously lifeless programs while compiling a Hall-of-Fame worthy record is a strong argument for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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Welcome!

March 7, 2008

Welcome to my world. For most of the new century I have been researching the lives of Carlisle Indian School football stars, something that has been a very rewarding experience. Along the way we – my wife Ann assists in the research and sometimes finds some unexpected things – have met some interesting and very helpful people. We have also discovered things for which we can’t find places in the books but which people may find interesting. Let’s start with something recent.

In the summer of 2002, Ann and I took a tour of Tanzania with a group of 10 people. At night when we were all assembled for the first time, the guide subjected us to the dreaded circle routine. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I said that I was writing a book on Lone Star Dietz. A woman a couple of places away from me in the circle responded, “Do you mean Lone Star Dietz the football coach?” I responded in the affirmative and asked how she knew about him. The woman – Betty Tyler – informed me that, when she was a child the Dietzes lived next door to her in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he coached the Albright College football team at that time. I was shocked to meet someone who actually knew Dietz in a group of 10 people on the other side of the world.

Betty’s mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was living near Charleston, South Carolina at the time and, although in her 90s, had a very clear mind. That fall Ann and I visited some friends in Charleston – the ones who arranged the Africa trip – so I could interview Mrs. Hawkins. Dorothy was a lovely person and shared information about Lone Star that one cannot find in newspaper reports or public files. She was very helpful, especially because she and her family moved to Pittsburgh and kept in contact with the Dietzes who were also living there after the war. Through Betty and her mother I was also able to interview Betty’s brother. That interview was conducted over the phone because he lives in San Francisco. He recalled Lone Star parading up and down the street in his Sioux regalia and challenging the kids to tug on his pitch-black hair to show that it was all real.

Late last year we received some sad news: Dorothy Hawkins had died. In addition to the bad news, Betty Tyler gave us some good news. Betty’s mother had a painting Lone Star gave her many years ago and Betty didn’t have a place for it in her house. Knowing that I was so interested in Lone Star and would appreciate it, she gave it to me. What good fortune! Now I must reorganize my already cluttered office to give it an appropriate place on the wall.

To learn more about Lone Star Dietz, check out www.LoneStarDietz.com. To learn more about my upcoming book, check out www.Tuxedo-Press.com. If you’re interested in seeing video previews for the books, look at www.YouTube.com/TomBenjey.

Now I must go to the Cumberland County Historical Society to look at the Jim Thorpe letters they just acquired. More on that later.