COLUMBIA — Former University of South Carolina football coach and athletic director Jim Carlen died Sunday at age 79. A cause of death was not announced.
Carlen is best known for recruiting USC’s only Heisman Trophy winner, running back George Rogers, who won the award in 1980.
Carlen coached the Gamecocks from 1975-81. Carlen’s record at USC was 45-36-1, including two eight-win seasons and three trips to bowl games. Carlen ranks third in career coaching victories at USC. He doubled as the athletic director until 1981.
He debuted as a head coach at West Virginia in 1966 and went to Texas Tech in 1970. He coached at Texas Tech before USC. He led West Virginia to its second-ever 10-win season and Texas Tech to its second 11-win season. His career coaching record was 107-69-6 in 16 seasons.
Carlen played at Georgia Tech, where he was a linebacker and punter on two national championship teams under legendary coach Bobby Dodd, who gave Carlen his first assistant coaching job after Carlen served four years in the Air Force.
In 2006, Carlen was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Meredith, two sons and two daughters, and 12 grandchildren. Carlen’s memorial service will be held Friday at 4 p.m. at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church in Columbia, with visitation immediately following in the church gymnasium.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (www.fca.org) or Trenholm Road United Methodist Church.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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