Jim Carlen, who served as the head football coach at West Virginia University from 1966 to 1969, died Sunday morning at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., at the age of 79.
During his four seasons in Morgantown, Carlen compiled a record of 25 wins, 13 losses and three ties, for a winning percentage of .658.
After his initital team in 1966 finished 3-5-2, his second team achieved a winning record, going 5-4-1 in 1967. After his 1968 team finished 7-3, Carlen's final team at WVU in 1969 went 10-1, including a 14-3 win over South Carolina in the Peach Bowl. Following that victory, WVU finished 17th in the final Associated Press poll and 18th in the Coaches Poll.
Carlen left following that season to become the head football coach at Texas Tech and was replaced in Morgantown by one of his assistant coaches, Bobby Bowden, best known for his long tenure at Florida State and being the second winningest coach in the history of major college football.
Known as Gentleman Jim, Carlen was born on July 11, 1933, in Cookeville, Tenn. He served as a linebacker and punter for Georgia Tech University in 1953 and 1954 and got his first college coaching position there when he was hired as the freshmen coach in 1958. After three seasons as the freshmen coach, Carlen took over the Yellow Jackets defense, which he coached from 1961 to 1965 before becoming a head coach for the first time at West Virginia.
After leaving Morgantown, Carlen was successful at Texas Tech, going 37-20-2 in five seasons there. He took the Red Raiders to four bowl games, including a victory in the 1973 Gator Bowl, which allowed Texas Tech to finish the season with an 11-1 record and a No. 11 ranking in both national polls.
After five years in Lubbock, Carlen became the head football coach at South Carolina in 1975, a position he held for seven seasons. His Gamecock teams won 45 games. lost 36 and tied 1. Included among the losses were all three bowl games in which his SC teams participated. His best seasons there were back-to-back 8-4 years in 1979 and 1980.
During his tenure at South Carolina, Carlen coached running back George Rogers, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1980.
For his 16-year career, Carlen compiled a record of 107 wins, 69 losses and 6 ties.
Carlen was in Morgantown last year, joining former Mountaineer coaches Bowden, Frank Cignetti and Don Nehlen in a panel discussion.