Jim Dietz
Jim Dietz
Organization: San Diego State University (CA)
Year: 2002 Inductee

In 31 years at San Diego State University, Jim Dietz built the Aztec baseball program into one of the finest in the nation.

Dietz led SDSU to 25 winning seasons in 27 years and eight NCAA Regional appearances. In 2000, he led his team to the inaugural championship of the first-year Mountain West Conference. In 1994, the Aztecs collected the Western Athletic Conference Western Division co-championship and Dietz was named the divisional Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Dietz has a career record of 1,231-750-18 (.620) at SDSU. He averaged almost 40 wins per season. As of 2002, a total of 27 former Aztecs played in profressional baseball while numerous others have served as either coaches, administrators, or scouts in professional ball.

Dietz began his collegiate coaching career at San Diego State in 1972, becoming only the third head baseball coach in school history. From 1975 until his retirement, his Aztec teams had only two losing seasons.

In 1979 the Aztecs made their first-ever NCAA Div. I regional playoff appearance, advancing to the finals before losing to Pepperdine. Between 1979 and 1986, Dietz led the Aztecs to six postseason regional playoffs and a winning percentage of almost 70 percent. His SDSU squad returned to the NCAA playoffs in 1990, finishing second to Stanford at the West I Regional.

One of his finest moments came in 1984 when the Aztecs won 66 games (most in the nation that year) and set a total of 10 school records.

Dietz took the Aztecs to Western Athletic Conference titles on three occasions. In 1986, he led San Diego State to its first WAC championship as the Aztecs won both the league's Southern Division title and post-season tournament. In 1988, his team won the conference's first regular-season title as the WAC abandoned divisional play and went to an eight-team round-robin format.

Dietz's 1990 team became the first squad to win both the WAC regular-season title and postseason tournament championship in the same season. After guiding his squad to a 49-22 mark, he was named Region VII Coach of the Year.

In 1991, he took his Aztecs to a second consecutive WAC Tournament title and berth in the NCAA regional. In 1996, he became the 17th collegiate coach to reach the 1000-win milestone.

Dietz received numerous honors and awards during his illustrious career. He was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Aztecs to the league title in 1986 and was again honored with that award in 1994.

In January of 1983, Dietz was the recipient of the Super Star Award, presented annually by Collegiate Baseball News for outstanding effort and achievement in the field of amateur baseball.

In 1994, he was named one of five Citizens of the Year by the City Club of San Diego for his contributions to the city and the community.

Most notable among his other awards are the 1967 Rollie Truitt Award, which is presented annually to the man who has done the most for amateur baseball in Oregon, the NBC (National Baseball Congress) Coach of the Decade for his work with the Fairbanks (Alaska) Goldpanners summer baseball club and the 1978 Breitbard Foundation award for his contributions through baseball to the San Diego community.

Dietz began his coaching career at Lowell High School (Lowell, Ore.) in 1963 where he remained for two seasons. From there he moved to Pleasant Hill (Oregon) High School where he coached varsity baseball from 1965 until 1968. At Pleasant Hill, his teams won three straight league titles and also captured the state championship in 1968.

Later in 1968, he became the freshman and junior varsity coach at the University of Oregon, where he also coached the freshman men's basketball squad before being appointed head coach at San Diego State prior to the start of the 1972 season.

During the 1970s, Dietz became one of the most successful summer league coaches in history, spending seven seasons with the Fairbanks Goldpanners of the Alaska League. He compiled a 348-151 record there, took all seven of his teams to the NBC National Finals, and won four national summer championships. Among the players he coached at Fairbanks were future major league stars Dave Winfield, Mark McGwire and Steve Swisher.

He retired from the Goldpanners in 1978 and two years later took the Boulder (Colo.) Baseline Collegians to a 64-12 season, finishing third at the national tournament. That squad included former major leaguers Mark Langston, Joe Carter, and Spike Owen. In 1982 and 1983 he returned to Alaska as head coach of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, finishing first in the state and second at the national tourney (1982).

After a six-year hiatus, Dietz returned as manager of the Fairbanks Goldpanners in 1990 and led them to a 142-82 (.634) record through the summer of 1993 with tournament championships at the U.S. Open (1990) and the Texas Shootout (1991).