Stetson’s Pete Dunn on ‘Catching up’ to the game’s evolution behind the plate

petedunnCurrently standing eighth in all-time wins among active coaches, Pete Dunn’s Stetson teams have racked up 1,167 victories under his guidance. Over the tenure, he’s sent 72 players on to the professional ranks, taken the Hatters to 16 NCAA Regional Tournament appearances, won eight Atlantic Sun Conference titles and has been named league coach of the year a record six times.

In addition to his collection of accolades, which includes a “Pete Dunn Day” (February 9) in the city of DeLand, Fl., Dunn is regarded as one of the premier catching coaches in the country, having authored a chapter on catching in The Baseball Drill Book. Inside Pitch recently asked Dunn to explain just how much the catching position has changed over the years:

How has the position changed in terms of body type, athleticism, and from an offensive standpoint?

“You look back in the old days when I was playing, catchers were the ‘squatty-body’ guys back there. If they couldn’t run or couldn’t field, you just stuck ’em behind the plate. That’s not the way it is anymore, I mean, just look at guys like Yadier Molina. They’re just so darn athletic.

In the past if you could really catch, you could catch in the big leagues, whether you could hit or not. That’s changed too. Not only are catchers much more athletic, it’s more of an offensive position as well. It’s not a place you stick a guy that can’t do anything else, like the way it used to be. I think that if you’re going to have a championship club, you’d better have a guy like that back there.”

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