Kyle Bunn, widely regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in the country, is currently the pitching coach for East Tennessee State University. Throughout his career, Bunn has done an excellent job developing his pitchers as 43 of them have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Overall, 15 pitchers have been drafted in the first five rounds, while five have gone on to pitch in the Major Leagues.
Bunn has 11 years of experience serving as a Division I coach, with eight of those teams making NCAA Regional appearances and five advancing to the NCAA Super-Regionals. Overall, ten of those teams ended the year with a winning record.
Bunn has made an immediate impact since arriving at ETSU in 2012. In 2013, the Bucs won the Atlantic Sun Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1981. Bunn's staff was led by First Team Louisville Slugger All-American and A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, Kerry Doane, who was taken in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. Doane broke the ETSU single-season record for complete games (12) and innings (147.0), tied the ETSU single-season record for wins (13) and shutouts (4), while registering the second-lowest ERA in program history at 2.14. Meanwhile, Clinton Freeman went 7-1 with a 3.04 ERA, and was 6-0 with a 0.65 ERA (3 ER/41.1 IP) and converted on all eight of his save opportunities. As a staff, the Bucs finished with 36 wins, tying them for third in program history, while the relievers combined for nine saves which tied for fifth in ETSU history. In addition, the team 4.13 ERA marked the third-lowest by any staff in school history.
In his first season at ETSU (2012), the Buccaneer staff set school marks in fewest walks allowed (149), while the .278 opponents’ batting average was 20 points lower than any other in school history. ETSU pitchers struck out 356 batters, marking the second highest in the program, which was also the most since 2001. The team 4.42 ERA was the lowest since 1991 and currently ranks fifth in the Buccaneer record books.
Individually, right-hander Kerry Doane and freshman righty Jimmy Nesselt set ETSU records in Bunn’s first season. Doane’s 8.33:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 56 innings was the best mark by any hurler to don the Blue and Gold, while Nesselt’s 7.71 hits per nine was lowest in ETSU history. In addition, Doane’s strikeout to walk ratio ranked fourth in the country and his walks per nine innings (0.96) ranked seventh.
Prior to arriving in Johnson City, Bunn spent time as a pitching coach at the University of Alabama (2009-10), Clemson University (2007-09), and University of Mississippi (2001-07). From 2007-10, Bunn’s pitching staffs helped guide three different universitites to the NCAA Super-Regionals. This feat has been unmatched by any other college baseball pitching coach in the country.
While in Tuscaloosa, Alabama won the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional and was the runner-up in the SEC Tournament. 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. Nelson ranked 44th nationally in wins and 53rd in strikeouts. Meanwhile, Kilcrease was 42nd in ERA.
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. In his first season at Clemson, Bunn saw D.J. Mitchell named All-ACC, as he led the conference in strikeouts during the regular season and ranked 22nd nationally. In addition to Mitchell, Matt Vaughn was one of the top closers in the country as he ranked 18th in the country in saves.
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 Rebel pitchers ranked among the top-100 nationally in a number of statistical categories.
In 2007, Ole Miss reached the Tempe Super Regional, while Bunn’s pitching staff led the SEC with a team ERA of 3.37 – putting the Rebels 10th overall in the country. Nathan Baker, a left-hander, was named a Freshman All-American, whereas, Cody Satterwhite and Lance Lynn were both named All-SEC pitchers and selected to the USA Baseball National Team.
Meanwhile, in 2006, Satterwhite was named a Freshman All-American as well as making the USA Baseball National Team trials. As a squad, Ole Miss won the 2006 SEC Tournament and advanced to another Super Regional.
Bunn’s pitching staff helped set a record for wins at Ole Miss in 2005 as the Rebels won 48 games, while four players were drafted in the top 100 and six in the first seven rounds – all of whom pitched – marking the most by any Division I program. The staff set a school record with 562 strikeouts in 2005, while all three weekend starters had over 100 K’s.
The 2004 Ole Miss team made history by hosting the NCAA Regional for the first time, while Bunn’s staff set a school mark with 39.2 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Bunn coached Mark Holliman to All-SEC honors and three pitchers were ranked in the top 100 for lowest ERA. In 2003, Bunn directed a young staff to the lowest ERA (3.45) in the SEC, as five freshman pitchers tossed over 50 innings each, while rookie Stephen Head ranked ninth nationally in saves. Following the 2003 campaign, current Ole Miss student assistant and former Major League pitcher T.J. Beam, was selected in the 10th round of the MLB Draft.
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 under then head Coach Keith Griffen. 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.
“Kyle’s resume speaks for itself, but I have known him for a long time and have enjoyed watching his career grow,” added head ETSU baseball coach Tony 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.”
A 1999 graduate of The Citadel with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and minor in Law & Legal Processes, the 35-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 Tournament titles in both 1998 and 1999, and a regular season championship in 2000.