Joe Lee Dunn, former Gamecocks defensive coordinator and longtime SEC coach, has died

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Longtime college football coach and former South Carolina defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn died on Tuesday, FootballScoop and others reported. Dunn was 75.

It was truly an honor to play for one of the best defensive coordinators college (football) has ever seen,” per a Twitter post from Texas Tech associate head coach/defensive coordinator Derek Jones, who played for Dunn at Ole Miss. “Coach Joe Lee Dunn demanded that you play hard and if you weren’t mentally and physically tough, you couldn’t play for him. His mentality helped to mold many men. RIP Coach.”

The Ozark, Alabama native served as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina in 1987 and 1988 under head coach Joe Morrison. The Gamecocks were a combined 16-8 over those two years.

In addition to his time at USC, Dunn rose to national acclaim as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State between 1996 and 2002, where his aggressive 3-3-5 scheme caused problems for offenses around the Southeastern Conference.

Dunn was a finalist for the Broyles Award honoring the nation’s top assistant coach in 1999. That season, he helped Mississippi State to a 10-2 season and a victory over Clemson in the Peach Bowl.

The Bulldogs also won their lone SEC West title in 1998 under head coach Jackie Sherrill, offensive coordinator Lynn Amedee and Dunn.

Amedee, coincidentally, played at LSU in the 1960s for eventual South Carolina head coach Paul Dietzel.

Dunn played his college football at UT-Chattanooga before coaching at New Mexico, New Mexico State, Memphis (then called Memphis State), Ole Miss, South Carolina and Arkansas, among other stops.

He served as the head coach at New Mexico for three four seasons and spent one season as the head coach at Ole Miss after Billy Brewer was fired shortly before the 1994 season.

Dunn finished his head coaching career with a combined record of 21-37. His best season was a 6-6 mark at New Mexico in 1983.

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