APSU Interim Baseball Head Coach Derrick Dunbar said he has high expectations for the upcoming season. APSU President Alisa White named the former assistant baseball coach as interim head coach on Wednesday, Aug. 26. According to APSU Athletic Director Ryan Ivey, Dunbar will be a candidate in the search for the baseball head coach.
“Coach Dunbar’s service to APSU has certainly been noticed,” Ivey said. “He has a lot of respect from our student athletes and a lot of respect from our baseball alumni. [This] will play into factor when evaluating the best candidate for the job.”
Dunbar, an APSU alumnus, played baseball for four years under former coach Gary McClure. Dunbar graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Since his start as an assistant coach in 2005, Dunbar has coached 37 players who have gone onto a professional career in baseball, according to letsgopeay.com.
From 2011-2013, APSU won the OVC regular season three years in a row. In 2012 and 2013, APSU went to the regional finals of the NCAA Baseball tournament, one game shy of going to the NCAA College World Series.
Last season, APSU finished 25-26 overall and 15-15 in the OVC, but did not qualify for the OVC tournament.
“We were extremely young and talented,” Dunbar said. “Last year’s team underachieved. At the exit meeting, the players admitted it. We should have made the OVC tournament last year.”
This year, APSU has a more experienced team with a lot of returning juniors and seniors, such as junior Alex Robles.
As a freshman in 2014, Robles was named to the Baseball America Freshman All-America First Team. Robles was selected as the OVC Rookie of the Year, a second-team all OVC pick, and played for the OVC All-Freshman team and the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team. During his sophomore year, Robles was named first-team All-OVC as a pitcher and a utility player. This is the first time in OVC history a player has been selected for the All-OVC team in two spots.
During the 2015 season, Robles was the number one starting pitcher, the team’ designated hitter and started in four infield positions throughout the season.
“Alex is a leader on and off the field,” Dunbar said. “He’s someone that [his teammates] look up to and respect.”
Dunbar said the Governors want to represent APSU at the OVC tournament and upkeep previous successes. “We’re going to get our swag back,” Dunbar said.
No matter the outcome, Dunbar will play a significant role in APSU’s path to the OVC tournament.
Dunbar said he plans to make changes in time management and work ethic. “We are going to use our time a little bit more wisely,” said Dunbar. “Practice time is when we get our work in. We’re doing everything in our man power to get ready for the game and in all reality the game is the fun time.”
Ivey said he hopes to offer the head coach position by Friday, Sept. 11.
“What I can tell you about our team is that they are going to play with energy,” Dunbar said. “They are going to do things right on and off the field. They are going to respect the game. They are going to bust their butt every inning, every pitch, every out of every game until we are done for our season.”