Mr. String Music is dead.
But the legacy Joe Dean leaves behind as an LSU basketball great, Southeastern Conference hoops analyst on television who coined the famous phrase and, finally, longtime Tiger athletic director is, well . . . nothin' but net.
If you want to know the measure of the man, this anecdote from former LSU football coach Gerry DiNardo, now a Big Ten Network personality, pretty much sums it up. From The (Baton Rouge) Advocate:
Dean was a likeable and affectionate man, someone who bonded with subordinates and developed young up-and-comers. He always had time to talk, Dinardo said, even when the coach would walk into Dean’s office sweat-soaked after a long run.
“I’d go for long jogs and it was always hot and I’d be soaking wet and I’d go up to his office to talk about what I had thought about on my run,” said Dinardo, LSU football coach from 1995-99.
“I was soaking wet so I never could sit on his furniture. I’d sit on his floor and he’d lean back laughing because I’d have all of this I was thinking I was about to tell him. Sometimes, I was out of line, I was wrong, irrational, emotional, but he just sat there and listened.”
Dinardo was fired during the 1999 season. He met with Dean and then-LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert in the school’s alumni center, a way to dodge reporters, Dinardo said.
“Mark fired me and I stood up and Joe stood up and we told each other we loved each other and we hugged and I walked out,” Dinardo said. “Joe didn’t have to do that. This was a new chancellor. Why did Joe put himself at risk there? That was my last memory of Joe as my boss.”
Dinardo returned to Baton Rouge to visit his son, an LSU student, over the summer. The two had breakfast with Dean.
“Joe started out as my boss,” Dinardo said. “We winded up being great friends. He always had time for me.”