Pete Dunn Honored Again
It was June 2001 when Pete Dunn hung up the phone and paused. He had to catch his breath. A large university with a prestigious baseball program had just offered a lucrative contract and a message: “We want you to lead our baseball program, and we want you now.”
The offer seemed too good to pass up.
“This was a university with high academic standards and highly regarded baseball program,” Dunn recalled.
His stellar statistics as Stetson’s head baseball coach had the attention of university athletic directors — everywhere.
With only a few days to decide, the pressure was on. Swirling in Dunn’s head: Should I stay at Stetson?
“Coaches work a lifetime for an opportunity like this,” he remembered thinking to himself.
In response, Stetson offered a new contract to keep its coach of 21 years.
“For me and my family, bigger is not always better,” Dunn concluded.
“Stetson was the right university to coach, and DeLand was the right location for my family.”
Dunn remained at Stetson.
Now, he is about to enter a hall of fame. Again.
Elected to numerous halls during his illustrious career, Dunn in November he will cap off his Hatters legacy with induction into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place Nov. 12 at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Dunn, who led the Stetson baseball program from 1980 to 2016, amassing 1,312 career victories, already is a member of the Stetson University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the Brevard County Sports Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Halls of Fame.
He becomes only the second college baseball coach in the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, joining University of Miami coach Rob Fraser, who was inducted in 1986. He also will be only the second coach from Stetson to enter; former basketball coach Glenn Wilkes was inducted in 1981. Further, Dunn will be just the ninth inductee to the hall from the sport of baseball — a list that includes Dunn’s godson, Chipper Jones, a 2017 inductee.
Along with the 1,312 wins, there were 17 NCAA Regional Tournament appearances, 28 winning seasons and nine conference titles. Over the course of Dunn’s 37 years coaching baseball, he sent 84 players on to play professional baseball, with nine making it to the Major Leagues.
Dunn played for the Hatters, too, starring as a catcher and serving as a co-captain before receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1972. (In 2007, he received the Stetson University Distinguished Alumni Award.)
Following graduation, Dunn was drafted and signed with the Kansas City Royals, spending two seasons living his dream of professional baseball. It was during those two seasons when he decided to pursue a career in coaching. First, Dunn served as an assistant at Georgia Southern and then returned to Florida to teach and coach at Apopka High School, not far from Stetson. After three years at the high-school level, Dunn returned to Stetson in 1977 as an assistant coach. Two years later, he became the head coach and a legendary Stetson lifer, both on and off the baseball field.
“As a coach, my most important job was not instructing baseball skills but rather teaching life skills,” Dunn explained in 2017, weeks after retirement. “A big part of my job was ensuring that my players were doing what they were supposed to do in the classroom, in their communities and in life.”
– Michael Candelaria
Florida Sports Hall of Fame, 2019
- Nick Anderson, basketball
- Daunte Culpepper, football
- Pete Dunn, baseball
- Winston Dubose, soccer
- David Little, football
- Chuck Rohe, track
- Annika Sorenstam, golf
- Jason Varitek, baseball
- Lois Webb, volleyball
- Chris Weinke, football
- Pat Williams, basketball