Sept. 18, 1999
The University of Notre Dame baseball team has added Dusty Lepper as an assistant coach for the 1999-2000 season. Lepper spent the previous eight seasons as a player and assistant coach at schools in the Midwest and replaces former Irish player and assistant Cory Mee, who left Notre Dame to pursue a similar position at Michigan State.
Lepper-who joined the Irish baseball staff of head coach Paul Mainieri and primary assistant coach Brian O’Connor in late August-will assist with recruiting while working closely with the Notre Dame catchers and infielders.
He also will combine with Mainieri for instruction of the Irish hitters, with Notre Dame set to return eight of nine position players from a 1999 team that hit .307 with 70 home runs in 61 games. Notre Dame posted a 43-18 overall record in 1999, became the first BIG EAST Conference team ever to win 19-plus league games (20-5) and played host to an NCAA regional at Frank Eck Stadium.
“Dusty was recommended to me by several other head coaches, of whom I have tremendous respect,” said Mainieri, whose Notre Dame teams have compiled a record of 209-93 (.692) during the past five seasons.
“Dusty is an enthusiastic, tireless worker who interacts well with the players. His outgoing personality, combined with an ability to judge talent, will make him an excellent recruiter for the Irish baseball program. I am tremendously excited to have Dusty as part of our staff, as he will be a real asset to our team.”
Lepper, who has coached 10 future professional players during his brief college coaching career-spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at three schools: his alma mater the University of Toledo (1996 and ’97 seasons), Ohio University (’98) and the University of Cincinnati (’99).
“Joining the Notre Dame baseball program was a tremendous opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with-and learning from-Paul Mainieri and Brian O’Connor,” said Lepper. “Having spent my undergraduate and coaching years in the Midwest, I am familiar with the standard of excellence that the Notre Dame baseball program has established and always have admired the accomplishments of Notre Dame, both as a school and a baseball program.
“Since we began fall practice a few weeks ago, I’ve become even more excited about this opportunity after interacting with the players and seeing the great potential we have for this season. I’m just proud to become part of the Notre Dame baseball tradition and hope we can add to it in the coming years.”
Lepper’s duties at Cincinnati included assisting in coaching of the infielders, outfielders, hitters and catchers on the 1999 team that posted a 30-29 overall record. He also helped oversee the practice and recruiting processes and coordinated team travel, field maintenance and academic supervision for the Cincinnati baseball program. He assisted with production of the team’s media guide and game programs, in addition to coordinating an off-season conditioning program and overseeing alumni relations. Lepper also served as director and administrator for the Cincinnati baseball camps and assisted in various fundraising and promotional events. During gameday situations, he served as the Bearcats’ third base coach.
While at Ohio during the 1997-98 academic year, Lepper held similar responsibilities while serving as the first base coach on the 1999 Bobcats team that went 31-24.
He broke into coaching at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach at Toledo from the summer of 1995 through the summer of ’97. Lepper’s duties at Toledo were similar to those at Ohio and Cincinnati, in addition to supervising the team’s strength and conditioning program and overseeing purchasing and budgeting for equipment. He also established a gameday baseball program at Toledo and served as the third base coach, with the Rockets compiling a two-year record of 45-60 in 1996 and ’97.
Lepper was a four-year letterwinner as an infielder at Toledo from 1992-95, with Toledo owning a four-year record of 86-123 during his career. He was named Toledo’s freshman of the year in ’92 and served as team captain in ’95. Lepper graduated from Toledo in 1996 with a degree in sports administration and received his masters in athletic administration from Ohio University in 1998.
His pre-college days included participation in baseball and hockey at Findlay (Ohio) High School, in addition to playing with the Findlay American Legion squad from 1989-91.