|Organization:||Stetson University (FL)|
Over the last 36 years, Pete Dunn has guided the Stetson baseball program to great successes on the field. Coming into the 2016 season, he has led Stetson to 1,283 victories, which ranks eighth on the list of active coaches. His Stetson teams have averaged 35.6 wins a year over his 36 seasons, and he has taken the Hatters to 16 NCAA Regional Tournament appearances. Dunn has helped Stetson to eight Atlantic Sun Conference titles and has been named league coach of the year a record six times. He has sent 81 players on to play professional baseball, five of whom were drafted in the first four rounds of the MLB Amateur Draft, and nine who have reached the Major Leagues.
After two years of playing professionally, Dunn was offered a chance to get into college coaching as a graduate assistant for a young head coach at Georgia Southern. He took the position working for future ABCA Hall of Fame coach Ron Polk, and helped the Eagles earn a trip to Omaha for the College World Series in 1973.
Dunn stayed on the Georgia Southern staff for two years, earning a Master's degree. By the time he finished his education, Dunn was anxious to return home to his home state of Florida.
After those three seasons, Dunn returned to Stetson to work for his mentor, coach Jim Ward. In 1977, Ward was entering his ninth season at Stetson. During his tenure, his teams had won 63 percent of their games and had made a successful transition to NCAA Division I. During those three years, the Hatters posted a 93-56 record and had the Stetson program rolling.
Dunn's good fortune, and hard work, allowed him to become the 34th coach in NCAA history to reach 1,000 career wins. Coming into the 2016 season, he was one of only four active coaches to have reached the 1,000-win plateau at their alma mater.
While Dunn has dedicated his career to Stetson baseball, he did take an opportunity in 1998 to coach another team. That summer he reunited with Polk and served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team.
Even since his Team USA experience, Dunn has worked with international players, although the players were not quite at the same competitive level. He was asked by close friend Tim Foli to assist with a clinic the Major League Players Alumni Association was holding in Cocoa Beach. The players attending the clinic were all from the Soviet Union.
Dunn's vision and hard work helped Stetson build a stadium which quickly garnered acclaim as one of the nation's finest collegiate facilities. Melching Field at Conrad Park, a $4.5 million stadium jointly built by Stetson University and the City of DeLand, opened on Feb. 12, 1999. In 2013 the facility hosted the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the 10th time in 15 years. That event will return to Melching Field in 2017.
Dunn's long and distinguished career as a coach has opened the door to a number of awards and tributes. He was inducted into the Stetson University Sports Hall of Fame in January 1992. He also received the 1996 Volusian Sportsperson of the Year award presented by the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
In honor of his 1,000th win, the City of DeLand proclaimed February 9, 2007 (opening day) as "Pete Dunn Day." Later in that same year he was inducted, along with his God-son Chipper Jones, into the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Dunn is actively involved in a variety of community service activities. He is a regular speaker at many regional and national coaching clinics. Dunn was awarded a 25-year service award by the ABCA in 1997.
He authored a chapter on catching in The Baseball Drill Book. The book was commissioned by the ABCA, edited by former Fresno State head coach Bob Bennett, and released in January, 2004. He also recently authored another chapter in a new ABCA book on the subject of "Evaluating Practice Sessions".