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Dunn with Legendary Success

Pete Dunn steps down with 1,311 victories in 37 years as the Hatters baseball coach. He also played at Stetson, first arriving in 1969.

Last spring, as his baseball team was battling long odds in the postseason, ultimately winning a conference championship, there looked to be plenty of innings left in legendary Pete Dunn’s career.

Today, however, Dunn, who began as a player on campus in 1969 (graduating in 1972, Physical Education) before becoming a student assistant coach in 1971, returning in 1977 as an assistant then taking the helm in 1980, announced that he’s stepping down, effective immediately. With his contract running through the end of the 2017 season, he will remain a part of the program, serving in the role of Head Coach Emeritus this spring. He will focus his efforts on fund raising and other areas where he can have a significant impact on the future of Hatters baseball.

A national search is underway for his successor.

Baseball coach Pete Dunn

Hatters baseball Coach Pete Dunn speaks to the media at a press conference on Monday, Dec. 12.

“This is the right time for me to hand the program over to someone else, both personally and for the program moving forward,” Dunn said. “I have given my life to Stetson University, and the Stetson Baseball program, for 40 years. I still carry my love for the game, but it is time for me to move on.

“I have mixed emotions. As long as I can remember, back to when I was a little kid, I have been playing baseball or coaching. It is going to be tough to walk away from it. Obviously, I am going to stay very interested. Game days will be the toughest because I really enjoy coaching on game days. It is not going to be easy, but it is time.”

Dunn: “This is the right time for me to hand the program over to someone else, both personally and for the program moving forward.”

During four decades at Stetson, Dunn led the Hatters to 1,312 victories, ranking eighth on the list of active coaches. His teams advanced to 17 NCAA Regional Tournament appearances and won nine Atlantic Sun Conference titles. He was named league coach of the year six times and in 2014 was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Many of his players have enjoyed great success, too. He has sent 62 players on to play professional baseball, with nine reaching the Major Leagues, including two – Jacob DeGrom and Cory Kluber – who have starred in the past two World Series.

Regarding the big-leaguers he has tutored, Dunn recently talked of a “huge sense of pride.”

Stetson, in turns, feels the same way about Dunn, according to Athletics Director Jeff Altier, himself a former player under Dunn.

“As someone who played for Coach Dunn, coached with him and, for the last 20 years served as Director of Athletics, I can tell you that no one is more passionate about seeing Stetson Baseball succeed than Pete is,” Altier said. “I am so pleased that he is able to walk away at a time when the program is still basking in the success of last spring’s run to the ASUN Championship and trip to the Coral Gables Regional.

“There is a very solid foundation in place here to return to that championship level year-after-year. That is a credit to what Coach Dunn has built over the last 37 years as head coach.”

-Michael Candelaria