Coach B.J. Dunne: Putting Athlete’s Well-Being First

By Max Ferguson, Staff Writer

Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball Program and Student-Athlete Well-Being Coordinator B.J. Dunne (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Gettysburg College is at the forefront of providing the best experiences and facilities for its student-athletes. One of the people dedicated to upholding these standards for student-athletes is Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball Program and Student-Athlete Well-Being Coordinator B.J. Dunne.

Before coaching at Gettysburg, Dunne was the head coach of Vassar College in upstate New York. Coach Dunne shared that he “knew enough about the school to always be intrigued” about the prospect of coaching basketball at Gettysburg College. The news of former coach George Petrie’s planned retirement in 2018 gave him that opportunity. After leaving Vassar College, Dunne and his wife, who played women’s lacrosse for Gettysburg, “were at a point in [their] lives where [they] felt excited about a change.”

When talking about how he got to Gettysburg, Dunne said, “During my interview, I was just blown away by the overall commitment that the college had to the student-athlete experience. I felt that [with] the resources we were provided, [we could] provide our student-athletes with a first class experience.”

Dunne expanded on his role as Student-Athlete Well-Being Coordinator: “…one of the great things about Division 3 is as a coach, you have an opportunity to wear a lot of different hats in your athletic department and be involved in the community.”

Dunne takes part in developing the programming for the College’s student-athletes.

“We are tasked with putting together programming for our student-athletes that is going to help them grow, develop and enhance their overall wellness,” said Dunne.

“We” refers to Dunne, Women’s Lacrosse Coach Charlotte Cunningham and Field Hockey Coach Taylor Dyer. Dunne credited the two coaches for helping him in his role as Student-Athlete Well-Being Coordinator. 

In relation to the College’s basketball program, one thing that has made the program so successful under Coach Dunne is the recent recruitment of international talent. When asked about how the program is able to get overseas players to come to Gettysburg, Dunne shared, “We love our international guys… A lot of guys were at high schools in the US that were looking for homes and I think Gettysburg does an unbelievable job at wanting to yield international students.” 

Coach Dunne also mentioned the other benefits of having global perspectives in the locker room: “…[they] have enhanced our overall empathy, compassion, and ability to understand each other. It has provided our guys with a ton of different and unique perspectives on life, basketball, and the college experience. It’s a really special locker room.” 

For international students, being far away from home can be difficult, and Dunne praised the international talent who make this sacrifice.

“It takes incredible mental fortitude to do what they do,” said Dunne.

As Dunne explained, one of the perks of being a Division III athletic program is the ability to carry out different roles that are integral to the function of an athletic department. In the case of Dunne, the two roles he has taken on as Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Student-Athlete Well-Being Coordinator have been mutually beneficial to each other. Dunne’s roles have allowed him to think about what his student-athletes need, and he can arrange programming according to what he sees in practices and games.

Dunne also expressed that in taking on these roles, his passion for Gettysburg athletics has amplified, sharing that he now “bleeds orange and blue.” 

Gettysburg College has been committed to providing the best experience for its students. With Coach Dunne championing for the wellbeing of student-athletes across campus, that commitment to positive student experiences, especially for student-athletes, will only become stronger.

This article originally appeared on page 15 of the No. 2 April 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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