Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
BATON ROUGE - Former LSU athletics director and college basketball hall of famer Joe Dean died Sunday in Baton Rouge, the university announced. He was 83.
Dean joined the staff of his alma mater as director of athletics in 1987, serving for 14 years, longer than any person in the history of the school. LSU won 27 national championships and 40 SEC titles during Dean's tenure, according to an LSU news release.
Dean served alongside former Voice of the Tigers John Ferguson, and later Tom Hammond, as an analyst for SEC basketball, starting on TVS and including such networks as NBC, Lorimar, ESPN, Turner Sports and Jefferson Pilot/Raycom from 1969-1987.
There, he coined the legendary phrase "String Music," to describe a jump shot that swished the net. The catchphrase was passed on to his son, Birmingham-Southern Athletics Director Joe Dean Jr., who continues his father’s tradition on the SEC TV broadcasts of the league.
Dean was also a promotions and marketing executive with the Converse Rubber Company, from 1959 to 87, becoming an advocate not only for Converse products but also promoting the game. Dean signed promotional contracts with the top coaches nationally, with numerous hall of fame players including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and was a highly sought after speaker and clinician.
Dean, a native of New Albany, Indiana, was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference and three-time All-SEC Tournament Team member at LSU from 1949-52, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Olympians in 1952.
He was an alternate on the 1956 U.S. Olympic team and played on the first U.S. team to tour Russia.
Dean led the Tigers in scoring in 1950 and '51, and was second to fellow Hall of Famer Bob Pettit in 1952. In 1952, he became the second player to score 1,000 career points at LSU.
He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. Dean is also a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
He is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be made to First United Methodist Church, 930 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.