Former West Virginia football coach Jim Carlen died Sunday in Columbia, S.C. He was 79. A cause of death was not given.
Carlen, who also coached at Texas Tech and South Carolina, was a punter and linebacker for Georgia Tech and was an assistant for the Yellow Jackets before he got his first head coaching job in West Virginia in 1966. He's credited with bringing West Virginia football to the big stage, convincing the school's leaders to leave the Southern Conference and become an independent.
The Mountaineers went 25-13-3 in Carlen's four years, including their second 10-win season in the program's history in 1969 that ended with a 14-3 win over South Carolina in the Peach Bowl.
"Jim was very instrumental in the overall growth of our football program, and even after he left, he still remained interested in the Mountaineers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Carlen family and friends," West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said in a prepared statement.