James Clyde Dietz: July 31, 1938 – March 27, 2022
James Clyde Dietz died March 27, 2022, in Florence, Ore. at the age of 83. He was born to Dorothy Hart Dietz and Al Dietz on July 31, 1938 in Eugene. Four years later, his brother John was born. He attended local schools, graduating from Eugene High in 1956.
He briefly attended Oregon State before transferring to Southern Oregon College. He majored in geography while competing in football, basketball, baseball and track.
In 1960, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and played minor league ball in Jamestown, N.Y. and Birmingham, Ala. After his playing days, he returned to Eugene to get a teaching credential and a master’s degree in counseling from the U of O. While at the University, he met and married Carol Griffin of Fairbanks, Alaska.
His teaching and coaching career started at Lowell High School, and two years later, he was at Pleasant Hill High School. In 1969, he was hired as the freshman basketball and JV baseball coach at the U of O. Their son Steve was born during their time in Eugene.
In 1972, he accepted the head baseball coaching job at San Diego State University. Two more children joined the family in San Diego, son Scott in ’73 and daughter Jennifer in ’75. In 31 years at State, his teams had a record of 1,231-750-18.
He was also one of the most successful summertime coaches with stints in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Kenai, Alaska and Boulder, Col. His teams won four national championships and finished second three times. He had a long and productive partnership with his Fairbanks general manager, Don Dennis.
But to his family and friends, Jim was more than just baseball. He loved his wife and children, but he doted on his grandchildren. He loved to take them crabbing, then watch in delight as the kids squealed as crabs scuttled across the deck after them. He eagerly planned the annual trip he took them on packing in as many fun adventures as possible. Among his favorite things were long car rides, his dog Lucky, going out to lunch, fishing, upland bird hunting, rockhounding and Dairy Queen heath bar blizzards.
Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol, son Steve Dietz (Gina) of Redmond, Ore., and daughter Jennifer Dietz of Florence. He was Papa to Griffin, Logan and Dalton Dietz of Redmond. Survivors also include his niece Sarah Kesling (Mike) of Elmira, nephew Aaron Dietz (Chelsea) of Delta Junction, Alaska, and cousin, Dan Baxter (Jeanne) of Tucson, Ariz.
He was predeceased by his parents, brother John and son Scott.
A private burial will take place later at the family plot in Springfield. A memorial service in San Diego is planned for Sunday, April 24 at 11 a.m. at the Poway High School baseball field.
If you would like to honor the memory of Jim, the family suggests a donation to the Oregon Coast Humane Society or a charity of your choice.