Ken Dunn’s name is synonymous with South River High. He helped open Edgewater School in 1978 and served for 44 years as a physical education teacher and coach.
Now, Dunn’s name will forever be displayed in South River, as it should be at the baseball complex where he spent literally thousands of hours.
On April 29, with over 300 people in attendance, South River dedicated Ken Dunn Stadium ahead of their college baseball game. Sporting Director Dave Klingel gave a brief presentation and then asked members of the current team to unveil the new signage.
“There are many words to describe this man as a coach, colleague and friend, but the one that resonates with me the most is caring,” Klingel said. “Coach Dunn really cared about all the players he coached.
“I hope the actions of naming this stadium in his honor show our same care for this man. As a school and community, we cannot thank you enough for your commitment to South River High and the lasting impact that you’ve had on so many people.
Klingel said the stadium’s rededication has been underway since Dunn retired as South River baseball coach in June 2013. Capital Gazette Player of the Year Scott Mitchell and the rest of the Seahawks l sent off in style by winning the program’s first state championship.
Klingel said the school administration gave their blessing while the idea was wholeheartedly endorsed by the South River High Athletic Boosters Club.
At Dunn’s insistence, the field itself was named for Kevin Morris, a former South River baseball player who died tragically at a young age. Accordingly, the facility will henceforth be known as Kevin Morris Field at Ken Dunn Stadium.
“It’s a well-deserved honor and we’re thrilled to honor Coach Dunn. He has such a big heart and he’s such a kind and gracious person,” Klingel said.
Klingel pointed out that South River High athletics had three main “ambassadors” in the first two decades of its existence – athletic director and football coach Joe Papetti, football and lacrosse coach Greg Carroll and Dunn.
Dunn served as a football assistant under Papetti and was head coach of baseball and basketball from the start. He retired from college basketball coaching in 2007 after 29 years on the sidelines. The 6-0 win over Catonsville in the 2013 Class 4A State Finals was the culmination of a 35-year tenure as a baseball coach.
South River Baseball’s only other state championship appearance was in 1983 when it lost to Thomas Johnson in the Class A Finals. The Seahawks did not win another regional championship until 2008, losing subsequently in the state semifinals.
While that 2013 state title was the pinnacle of South River baseball, Dunn was even more proud that the program was awarded the Maryland Statewide Baseball Sportsmanship Trophy. Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
“It’s not about me. It pays tribute to everyone who has ever been involved in South River baseball,” Dunn said after seeing the sign with his name unveiled. were it not for the players, this honor would not be possible.
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Dunn, now 75 and living near the Delaware coast, said it was the honor of a lifetime to have spent more than four decades teaching and coaching young people from the greater community of Edgewater.
“It’s like a giant family made up of the players, their parents, my assistants, the school teachers, the administrators,” said Dunn, who thanked his own family, in particular the late wife Mary and their kids, “for letting me spend so much time coaching.
Dunn grew up in St. Michael’s and became a multi-sport star in the small east coast town. He transferred to Severna Park High as a senior in 1964 and excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He was inducted into the Severna Park Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and is also a member of the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dunn played several sports at Central Connecticut State College before returning to Anne Arundel County armed with a teaching degree and taking a job in the public school system.
Upon arriving at South River, which had just opened in 1978, Dunn received a pointed message from the two men who would become his mentors as coaches.
“Joe Papetti and Greg Carroll told me when I came to this school: If you’re here for yourself, get out. If you’re there for the kids, stay,” Dunn said during his acceptance speech. after the inauguration of the stadium “You don’t coach for applause, you coach for a cause.”
Dunn closed the ceremony by reciting the “Athlete’s Prayer” (still one of his favorites) and vowed to shake hands and hug everyone in attendance.