1960's Game Worn
It was with great fanfare that the U.S. Military Academy hired Paul Dietzel away from LSU in 1960. Dietzel's three-platoon Chinese Bandit system brought the 1958 National Championship and the 1959 Heisman Trophy to Baton Rouge. It was with great fanfare that South Carolina hired Dietzel away from Army although his just-above-.500 record there had not won him the same accolades that his previous hire had. However, following the mediocre tenure of Marvin Bass, Dietzel was seen as a savoir and glory days were predicted. During the 1969-74 period, Dietzel followed in the footsteps of most Gamecock coaches and could not break the .500 barrier for wins and losses but the fans still packed the stadium for the new coach, the new uniforms, and their new hope. The new 1969 helmets also helped to bring their first ACC title and a Peach Bowl appearance, the school's first bowl game in twenty-five years. In 1971 South Carolina began life as an Independent, leaving the ACC and remained an independent for twenty years. Dietzel had few "name" players to call upon with recently deceased tackle Steve Courson who was one of the first NFL players to admit to steroid use and shining first as a freshman in 1973, as one of his stalwarts. QB Ron Bass also assumed a starting role as a frosh that same year and held the starting position through 1974. Bass gained notoriety as the QB of the Williams (VA) High School that was successfully integrated and was depicted as a long-haired, laid-back, California dreamboat type in the movie REMEMBER THE TITANS but he was actually a hard-nosed leader who played through many injuries at South Carolina. The South Carolina Fighting Gamecock on the side of their helmets, augmented by the single garnet or red stripe reflected the state's pride in their school and team. When Jim Carlen replaced Dietzel in 1975, striping and decal changes were made but the Fighting bird was maintained as a symbol of the school's fighting spirit.