JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 28, 2011) – Kyle Bunn, widely regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in the country, has joined the ETSU coaching staff, head coach Tony Skole announced on Thursday. Bunn arrives at ETSU after several successful stints as pitching coach at the major Division I level.
“I couldn’t be more excited about hiring Kyle Bunn as our pitching coach,” said Skole. “This is a great day for ETSU Baseball and this is a great day for the guys currently on our pitching staff. By bringing Kyle on board, I feel like we hit a grand slam. This is a huge hire for our program and we are already beginning to see dividends. There were a lot of great candidates that applied, but by hiring Kyle, we landed one of the top pitching coaches in college baseball. We are very fortunate to have him here at ETSU.”
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity Coach Skole has presented me with here at East Tennessee State University,” said Bunn. “Tony has always had a deep passion for the game and for the development of his players - both on and off the field. I coached Xan at Ole Miss and always viewed him as a tireless and energetic worker. When you couple those two together, I feel very fortunate to have the chance to be at ETSU with them.”
Bunn brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the ETSU staff as 31 pitchers coached by him have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. He has served as a Division I coach nine seasons, and all nine teams have ended the year with a winning record.
“From a recruiting standpoint things have already picked up,” said Skole, who is entering his 13th season as the ETSU head coach. “To be able to go into any home in America and say, ‘We have one of the top pitching coaches in the country at ETSU and he is going to develop you’ is a nice luxury to have."
Bunn most recently served as the pitching coach at the University of Alabama during the 2010 season, leading the team to the NCAA Super Regionals. Bunn coached Nathan Kilcrease, who was the MVP of the NCAA Atlanta Regional. Kilcrease was later drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 MLB Draft after etching his named into the Alabama record books in several categories. In addition, Jimmy Nelson finished second in the SEC in strikeouts, while also being named SEC Pitcher of the Week five times.
“Kyle’s resume speaks for itself, but I have known him for a long time and have enjoyed watching his career grow,” added Skole. “He has had great success at every place he has coached. His ability to recruit and develop pitchers along with the toughness he brings to a pitching staff is unparalleled. There were many things that attracted me to Kyle, but his work ethic, loyalty and passion for coaching pitchers is off the charts. He simply brings it every single day. I am very anxious for him to begin working with our pitchers.”
Prior to arriving at Alabama, Bunn spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Clemson University. In 2009, Bunn helped lead the Tigers to the NCAA Super Regionals. That season, the Clemson pitching staff ranked fifth nationally with an earned-run average of 3.68 while compiling a 44-22 record. The ERA was more than a run less per game (4.74) than Clemson's 2008 mark. Eight of Clemson's wins in 2009 came against Top 25 opponents. The Tigers also ranked 11th nationally in fewest hits (8.62) allowed per nine innings, ranked 25th in strikeouts (8.3) per nine innings and 26th in walks (3.07) per nine innings in the final 2009 NCAA stats. In addition, the Tigers had five pitchers selected in the 2009 MLB Draft, which were the most in the ACC.
Before his arrival at Clemson, Bunn spent six years at Ole Miss under head coach Mike Bianco. During his tenure in Oxford, Bunn saw 16 of his pitchers taken in the MLB Draft, eight of which had not been drafted previously. He tutored some of the finest pitching talent in the nation as the Rebels posted three top-20 finishes and five top-30 finishes among the national ERA leaders. In addition, 13 different Rebels pitchers ranked among the top-100 nationally in a number of statistical categories.
Prior to Mississippi, Bunn spent the 2001 season as an assistant coach at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Ala., where he worked as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Bunn also helped coach Jefferson Davis Community College to the NJCAA Division II Region 22 Southern Division Championship. One of his star pupils was right-hander Ehren Wassermann, who later signed with Samford and has pitched in the big leagues for the Chicago White Sox.
A 1999 graduate of The Citadel with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and minor in Law & Legal Processes, the 32-year-old was a three-year letter winner for the Bulldogs, earning the team's Ace Pitching Award in 1999. He helped The Citadel to back-to-back Southern Conference titles in both 1998 and 1999, and he was a Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll member. Bunn started for the Bulldogs in the 1999 Southern Conference Tourney Championship game against Western Carolina, as he struck out 11 batters in a complete-game victory. Bunn was a cadet captain and regimental liaison for baseball to the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. He was also a recipient of the Joseph T. Isaac, Jr., Memorial Scholarship at The Citadel. Bunn is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association.
“This entire search and hiring process was a very difficult experience, but I was confident that we were going to be able to attract some very good coaches,” said Skole. “With the hiring of Xan Barksdale and now Kyle coming on board, along with Matt Landreth, we have created a great situation. With the brand new stadium just around the corner, I’m fired up and ready to get this thing rolling.”
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