Jim Carlen, who both coached the Gamecocks from 1975-81 and served as the school’s AD during that same time period, died Sunday. He was 79.
Carlen amassed a 46-36-1 record while at the University of South Carolina, including two eight-win seasons. He ranks third highest in school history for number of victories.
In his first season in the garnet and black, Carlen got the Cocks to the Tangerine (now Capital One) Bowl. In his six seasons, South Carolina appeared in two other bowls, the Hall of Fame and the Gator Bowls.
Heisman winner George Rogers played for the Gamecocks during Carlen’s tenure. Carolina also beat then-No.3 UNC under Carlen’s watch. Rogers spoke to The State about Carlen’s influence in his life:
”If we didn’t have him, there probably wouldn’t have been a Heisman Trophy,” Rogers said.
In 1978, former governor James B. Edwards honored Carlen with the Order of the Palmetto, one of the highest awards that can be given to a resident of the state of South Carolina. In 2006, Carlen was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Cookeville High School Hall of Fame in 2007 and the National Football Foundation and College of Fame in 2008.
Carlen played his college ball at Georgia Tech, where he was a punter and linebacker. He served for four years in the Air Force prior to coaching. Before joining the Gamecocks, Carlen coached at West Virginia and Texas Tech. In 2008, Carlen was inducted into the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Honor and received the Honorary West Virginian Award in 2009. Throughout his career, Carlen was honored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A memorial service for Carlen will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, July 27, 2012, at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church in Columbia. Visitation will immediately follow in the church gym. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 8701 Leeds Road, Kansas City, MO 64129 or Trenholm Road United Methodist Church, 3401 Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29204.