DIETZ—James Clyde Dietz passed away on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the age of 83. He had been battling the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease for a number of years.
Jim was born to Dorothy Hart Dietz and Al Dietz in Eugene, Ore., on July 31, 1938. Four years later, his brother John was born.
He attended local schools, graduating from Eugene High School 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. He played minor league ball in Jamestown, N.Y., and Birmingham, Ala.
Jim returned to Eugene after his playing days to get his teaching credential and a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Oregon. While at the U. of O., he met and later married his wife, Carol Griffin, of Fairbanks, Alaska.
His teaching and coaching career started at Lowell High School and continued at Pleasant Hill High School, both in Oregon.
In 1969, he moved to the U. of O., where he coached the freshman basketball team and the J.V. baseball teams for 3 years. Son Steve was born during their time in Eugene.
In 1972, Jim accepted the head baseball coaching job at San Diego State University. Two more children joined the family in San Diego, son Scott and daughter Jennifer. In 31 years at State, his teams had a record of 1232-750-18.
He was also one of the most successful summertime coaches with stints in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Kenai, Alaska, and Boulder, Colo. His teams won four National Championships and finished second three times. He had a long and productive partnership with his 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, rock hounding and DQ Heath Bar Blizzards.
Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol; his son Steve Dietz (Gina) of Redmond, Ore., and daughter Jenny of Florence, Ore. He was Papa to Griffin, Logan and Dalton Dietz of Redmond. His survivors also include his niece Sarah Kesling (Mike) of Elmira, Ore., 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, Ore. A memorial service is planned for April 24 at 11 a.m. at the Poway High School baseball field.
The family would like to thank the two facilities where Jim resided — Northwest Memory Care and New Friends of Florence Memory Care, his personal physician Cory Gibbens, N.P., his hospice nurse Tanya, and his favorite caretaker, Andrew Tupua.
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.