One of the famed voices of southern college basketball died Sunday. Joe Dean Sr., who was a color commentator for SEC college basketball for nearly two decades, lost his life to a battle with heart disease in Baton Rouge, according to multiple reports.
He was 83.
Dean had many professions tied to athletics over the years. He was LSU's athletic director, and in fact started his career in basketball, becoming an All-SEC guard during his playing days from 1949-52. Dean was an Olympic Team alternate in 1956 and named to LSU's All-Century team just four years ago.
From the Baton Rouge Advocate:
Dean is survived by his three children — Joe Jr., Mardi and Mark — eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Dean had surgery — not heart-related — last week in Baton Rouge. He returned to his home Saturday. A homecare aid found him unresponsive Sunday morning.
“We think his heart just gave out,” said Joe Dean Jr., the athletic director at Birmingham-Southern.
One of the most famous alums in LSU history took to Twitter Sunday to say his thanks and pay respects.
RIP TO A LSU LEGEND JOE DEAN BE SURE AND GIVE MY FATHER PHILIP A HARRISON A HUG. BOTH OF U WERE A GREAT IMPACT ON ME THANK YOU— SHAQ (@SHAQ) November 17, 2013
Prior to getting to LSU in the late '80s, Dean worked with Converse for nearly 30 years. While broadcasting games, he became known for his trademark slogan "string music," signaling a shot that was a swish. Dean was a color analyst on many southern TV networks from 1969-1987.
“Joe Dean's influence on the SEC has been profound on many levels because of his involvement as a student-athlete, alumnus, athletic director and broadcaster," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. "His signature ‘String Music' is synonymous with SEC basketball and he has been a fixture at our basketball tournament for many years. His presence will be missed, but his impact will live on for many of us in the SEC for years to come.”
Upon giving up the mic, Dean took the job as AD at LSU, holding post from 1987-2000, the school winning 40 SEC titles during his time running the athletic department. Dean was responsible for hiring current Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Saban won a national title with LSU in 2004.
Dean was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame 364 days prior to his death, on Nov. 18, 2012. He, Pete Maravich and Bob Pettit are the only players from LSU ever inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He leaves a legacy that also includes induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the state of his birth.