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Bradley Hilltopics

Fall 2007 • Volume 13, Issue 4
Sports Scene
Baseball coach wins 1,000 games Braves approachPromoting parity

Coach Dewey Kalmer

By the numbers

1,006—Career victories for Kalmer in 28 seasons.
60+—Bradley players who have signed professional contracts during Kalmer’s tenure.
7—Bradley players who have made the major leagues during Kalmer’s tenure.
4—Coaches in Bradley baseball history.
1—Bradley player (the late Minnesota Twins
outfielder Kirby Puckett ‘84) inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame during Kalmer’s tenure.

Baseball coach earns 1,000 wins

by Justin Phelps ‘05

When Dewey Kalmer came to Bradley to coach baseball in 1979, he told a reporter that Bradley was a place where he could stay for a long time. Twenty-eight years later, still in a Bradley Braves baseball uniform, Kalmer recorded his 1,000th coaching victory last spring.

The 62-year-old is the 36th collegiate coach in the nation, and the 14th active coach, to reach 1,000 wins. Kalmer’s teams have averaged 30 wins per season. He has sent about 65 players to the minors and seven to the Major Leagues. Baseball America has ranked Bradley’s program in the top 10 percent in the nation. Yet he didn’t consider 1,000 victories until the past few seasons.

“When you start your professional life, you don’t think about those things,” Kalmer said. “When you start, you’re trying to figure out where everything is, get a team together, a schedule together. I never gave 1,000 wins a thought until I passed the 900 mark.”

Early in the 2007 season, it looked as though Kalmer would have to wait until 2008 to celebrate. Needing 26 victories during a 59-game season, the Braves started 2-7 with their top four pitchers—Mike Christl ’07, Collin Brennan ’09, Jon Goebel ’08, and Rob Scahill ’09—suffering from arm injuries. All had thrown 90 mph going into the season. Scahill missed the entire year with a labrum tear.

But during a four-week stretch in the middle of the season, Bradley won 13 of 14, including No. 1,000 on May 5 at Indiana State. Bradley recognized Kalmer and celebrated the milestone on May 12 at O’Brien Field in Peoria.

“If there’s any pride and accomplishment, it’s being able to win more games than I’ve lost,” said Kalmer, whose record stands at 1006-886-5. “And being able to achieve 1,000 victories despite being the underdog most of the time, working in private schools.”

Kalmer said Bradley is disadvantaged in “equivalency sports” (all sports excluding football, basketball, and hockey) as a private institution because of NCAA rules related to scholarship allocations for high-cost universities and as a northern school because of a lack of a common starting date for baseball. Kalmer said the current NCAA rules initiated in 1968 adversely affected the years of three Bradley coaches: the last five years for Leo Schrall MA ’67, seven years for Chuck Buescher ’68 MA ’70, and Kalmer’s 28 years. Recognizing the inequity, recent NCAA legislation effective in 2008 will create more parity between private and public institutions and northern and southern schools. “The new rules won’t affect my career but will put my successor on a more level playing field,” Kalmer said.

In the meantime, Kalmer said he’s recruiting more players and preparing for the ’08 season. After next season, he said he will take each campaign year-by-year when considering retirement.

Click here for a question-and-answer session with Kalmer and more information on some of the NCAA’s new rules.

 

Baseball coach wins 1,000 games Braves approachPromoting parity