FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES
WICHITA, Kan. — Bradley Baseball head coach Dewey Kalmer, the winningest coach in Bradley Athletics history, announced his plans for retirement during a postgame press conference after his team’s elimination from the 2008 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Wednesday night at Eck Stadium.
Kalmer’s 29th season at Bradley and his 40th year overall as a head coach ended when the Braves (26-28) dropped a pair of games during Wednesday’s opening day, 14-2 to Creighton in Game 2 and 9-2 to Northern Iowa in Game 3 Wednesday night.
“It’s a great time for me to leave,” Kalmer said during the postgame press conference. “The timing is good for Bradley because I think they should be very competitive next year. The new coach will walk into a team that can compete.”
Kalmer became the 36th member of NCAA Division I Baseball’s 1,000-Win Club last season and he retires with a 1,032-914-5 (.530) record in 40 overall seasons as a head coach, good for 34th place on the Division I all-time wins list. He directed his alma mater, Quincy University, to a 190-142-1 (.572) record in 11 seasons from 1969-79 and the Braves to a 842-772-4 (.522) record in 29 seasons from 1980-2008. Kalmer’s 842 wins at Bradley represent exactly one-half of the 1,684 wins in the program’s 108-year history and are 142 more than the 3-sport combined total of Bradley legend A.J. Robertson, who accumulated 700 victories as the baseball (244), men’s basketball (312) and football (144) coach from 1920 to 1948.
“Dewey’s remarkable longevity is a testament to both his love of the game and passion to serve young people,” said Bradley Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “His on-field successes are rightfully and duly noted in the the record books. However, we most appreciate and thank him for his decades of mentoring countless young men with life-long lessons that have translated well beyond their Bradley playing days.
“We certainly now wish Dewey and his wife Carol a well-deserved, enjoyable retirement period,” Kavanagh added.
In addition to his final win total, Kalmer sent 65 Bradley players on to professional baseball, including seven who advanced to the Major Leagues — Mike Dunne, Mike Grace, Jim Lindeman, Kirby Puckett, Bryan Rekar, Brian Shouse and Roger Smithberg. With Shouse currently excelling as a situational reliever for the Milwaukee Brewers, Bradley has had at least one former Brave playing in the Major Leagues for 26 consecutive seasons. Four of his former players were first-round Major League Baseball draft picks — Puckett (1982), Lindeman (1983), Dunne (1984) and Rob Purvis (1999) — and Puckett eventually landed in the Baseball Hall of Fame following his 12-year career with the Minnesota Twins.
Kalmer was one of the first college baseball coaches to place a player on the USA Baseball Olympic Team as All-American pitcher Mike Dunne was a member of the 1984 squad in Los Angeles. Two of his former players also faced each in the World Series when Puckett’s Twins knocked off Lindeman’s St. Louis Cardinals in 1987.
A native of Trenton, Ill., Kalmer graduated from Quincy College in 1966 after garnering All-America honors in both basketball and baseball. Drafted by the Washington Senators as a catcher in Major League Baseball’s second free-agent draft, Kalmer spent three years in the organization, the last two in Triple-A.
Following his professional baseball career, Kalmer returned to Quincy College, where he was named the Hawks head baseball and basketball coach. He coached both squads for 11 seasons before leaving for Bradley. The Quincy baseball program flourished under Kalmer’s leadership. The Hawks had only one losing season in Kalmer’s last nine years, won 20 or more games five of his last six seasons and advanced to the postseason in nine of his 11 years.
Kalmer left Quincy in the fall of 1979 to become the head baseball coach at Bradley. He was given responsibility for maintaining Meinen Field and served as the general manager for the Peoria Pacers of the Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL). He also served as a senior associate athletic director at Bradley for the last 15 years.
Kalmer will remain on staff at Bradley until June 30 with plans to conduct his summer baseball camps as scheduled. He also will conduct the day-to-day operations of the Bradley Baseball program while Kavanagh conducts a national search to find his replacement.
Although the next Bradley Baseball coach will be the 15th in the program’s history, he will be just the fifth since 1921. A.J. Robertson (1921-48) held the position for 23 seasons, a span interupted for three years late in his career by World War II. Leo Schrall succeeded Robertson and was the baseball team’s head coach for 24 years from 1949 to 1972, followed by Chuck Buescher (1973-79) for seven seasons and Kalmer for the last 29 years.