MORE: Perfect Game's Jerry Ford tweets about Stotz | Coaching changes in college baseball
Two of the more iconic figures in college baseball, albeit under different circumstances, are no longer part of the game. That duo includes Wichita State's Gene Stephenson and Stanford associate head coach Dean Stotz.
For well over 30 seasons, both Stephenson and Stotz were institutions in college baseball. Stephenson is best known for turning Wichita State into a national power. Stephenson, though, was let go by the Shockers after the 2013 campaign, and the university has since hired former Arkansas hitting coach, Todd Butler, to take over.
As for Stotz, he certainly leaves the Stanford program on much better terms than Stephenson with the Shockers. Stotz, who spent 37 seasons as an assistant coach for Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess, announced his retirement Friday. Though Stotz has an affinity for the Southeastern part of the country, given that's where he met his wife, much of his life has been dedicated to Stanford, including his time as a student-athlete, where he competed for the Cardinal during the 1974 and '75 seasons.
Stotz directed Stanford's vast and nationwide recruiting efforts, while also having a hand in other aspects of the program, including the offense and to some degree, the pitching staff. The long-time assistant will remain a part of the program with the task of overseeing summer baseball camps. Though Stanford hasn't officially announced Stotz's replacement, sources told Perfect Game that former big leaguer and Stanford All-American Ryan Garko will replace him, with pitching coach Rusty Filter moving up in the pecking order.
“I promised myself if I ever got to the point where I didn’t know if I had enough energy to be fair with my players, that I would seriously take a look at it,” said the 60-year-old Stotz. “The role I have with the bulk of recruiting requires an unbelievable amount of time to make it work."
Moving forward, Stotz plans to spend significantly more time with his family. But his contributions to Stanford will never be forgotten, with the program's accomplishments over the past 37 seasons etched in the annual media guide and around Sunken Diamond on the Stanford campus.
During his tenure with the Cardinal, Stotz helped the program achieve some lofty goals. The Cardinal appeared in 17 College World Series during the Stotz era, winning back-to-back national titles in 1987 and '88, while also earning runner-up status three times. The Cardinal also won 12 Pac-12 Conference titles in those 37 seasons.
“To be together for that many years is really amazing,” said Marquess, who is entering his 38th season as head coach. “He did a fantastic job. I don’t think there’s ever been a situation where you’ve had a head coach and assistant coach together that long. He’s had more than a couple chances to leave and he didn’t because he loved the place so much. It’s a sad time for me and an exciting time for him."
In addition to his impact at Stanford, Stotz was a very well respected assistant coach and recruiter on the national stage, too. As a matter of fact, several West Coast coaches expressed sadness over Stotz's departure from the game, with UCLA's John Savage providing a statement.
"Dean's loyalty to the Stanford program was pretty remarkable," Savage said. "They clearly established one of the most impressive runs in college baseball history with Dean there."
Stanford will have some rebuilding to do as the 2014 campaign nears. Besides losing Stotz, the Cardinal also must replace right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, outfielder Austin Wilson and others from the 2013 squad, which surprisingly missed the NCAA postseason.
The Dean Stotz era at Stanford has concluded, but it won't be forgotten.