|| Tom Kunis
Tom Kunis spent eight seasons as Stanford's pitching coach from 2000-07 before leaving Stanford to become the head coach at Ohlone College (Fremont, Calif.) in June of 2007.
His Stanford staffs led the Pac-10 in earned run average in three of those eight seasons and were either first or second six times. The Cardinal registered a team ERA below 4.00 four times under the guidance of Kunis, including a 2001 staff that despite not having a returning starter was one of the best in Stanford history, posting a 3.50 team ERA that was the lowest for the Cardinal since a 3.44 mark in 1977. The 2001 staff also used a balanced relief effort to set a new school record with 23 saves, one shy of equaling the Pac-10 single-season record.
Kunis developed several top-notch pitchers during his tenure on The Farm with nine (Jeff Bruksch, Nolan Gallagher, Mike Gosling, Jeremy Guthrie, John Hudgins, Greg Reynolds, Mark Romanczuk, Justin Wayne and Jason Young) being selected in the first five rounds of the last eight MLB First-Year Player Drafts. Kunis arguably did his best work with Reynolds, who earned the team's 2006 Most Improved Player award under his tutoring and was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the second overall pick in the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft to tie for the highest selection ever at Stanford. Gosling, Guthrie, Wayne and Young all reached the Major Leagues, while Bruksch and Hudgins made it to the AAA level. Reynolds has made it to the Double-A level, while Romanczuk has reached as high as Class A and Class A Short Season, respectively. All except Bruksch, Wayne and Young are still members of professional baseball organizations.
"Tom Kunis is recognized as one of the best pitching coaches in college baseball," commented Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "Just look at the pitchers he developed at Stanford. Greg Reynolds was a prime example in 2006. He was known when he came to Stanford out of high school, but nobody would have projected him to be taken as the second overall pick in the 2006 draft. Tom did a fantastic job with him just like he had done with other pitchers in the past few years. We were very fortunate to have Tom as our pitching coach for eight seasons."
"Tom Kunis was a big hire for me," added Marquess, who had the legendary Tom Dunton as his pitching coach for 16 of his first 23 seasons on The Farm. "We needed to replace one of the best pitching coaches in all of college baseball, and I was very concerned. We needed to hire someone who would be philosophically similar to Coach Dunton and be able to do things the way we had done them in so many successful seasons at Stanford. Coach Dunton was convinced that Tom Kunis was the guy, and we didn't skip a beat when Tom took over the job."
Kunis' first Stanford staff came in and posted a 3.95 ERA that marked the first time since 1996 the club had recorded an ERA under 4.00. Kunis inherited the dynamic duo of Wayne and Young. Wayne led the staff by earning First Team All-American and Pac-10 Co-Pitcher of the Year honors. Wayne won a school record 15 games with a 15-4 record and posted a 3.21 ERA, while striking out 153 batters in 143.0 innings. Wayne's strikeout total is still the third highest single-season mark in school history, while his innings pitched rank ninth. Young followed his 1999 First Team All-American season with another outstanding campaign, going 9-1 with a 3.73 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 115.2 innings. Wayne ended up as a first round draft pick (fifth overall) of the Montreal Expos in June of 2000 and made his MLB debut with the Florida Marlins in September of 2002. Young (a second round pick of Colorado in 2000) reached the Rockies' big league club in 2003.
In 2001 and '02, he guided Guthrie to back-to-back All-American campaigns, 26 wins (tied for ninth all-time at Stanford) and 2002 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors after the righthander had not touched a baseball the previous two years while on a Mormon mission in Spain. Guthrie was a first round pick of Cleveland in the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft and has pitched in the Major Leagues during each of the past four seasons with Cleveland (2004-06) and Baltimore (2007). Kunis also spearheaded the development of Gosling, who has spent portions of the last four campaigns with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2004-05) and Cincinnati Reds (2006-07).
Hudgins put together one of the best seasons in Stanford history under Kunis' watch in 2003, going 14-3 with a 2.99 ERA in a school record 165.1 innings, while winning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and College World Series Most Outstanding Player honors. Romanczuk won the first 12 starts of his collegiate career and was named one of four National Freshmen of the Year by Collegiate Baseball (Louisville Slugger).
In 2004, Kunis fostered the development of Gilmore and David O'Hagan from little-used pitchers into the team's No. 2 starter and closer roles, respectively. Gilmore earned the team's Most Improved Player honor after going 10-2 with a 4.43 ERA, while O'Hagan led the club with a 2.97 ERA and six saves in addition to winning six games out of the bullpen. Romanczuk (11-3, 4.31 ERA, 108.2 IP, 94 SO) also had a nice season moving into his role as the team's ace.
His 2005 staff ranked second in the Pac-10 with a 3.77 ERA. Gilmore (10-3, 3.76 ERA, 117.1 IP, 80 SO) emerged as the team's ace, while Matt Manship (2-0, 0.80 ERA, 5 SV, 33.2 IP, 31 SO) was extremely tough out of the bullpen. The core of that staff showed its dominant potential late in the regular season during a 10-game stretch from May 2-17 in which the Cardinal posted a 1.81 ERA. The run included three of the team's five shutouts and most of a string of 37.0 consecutive innings where the staff did not allow an earned run.
Kunis met one of the toughest challenges of his Cardinal career in 2006 when he guided a young and inexperienced staff that had lost its top two starters from 2005 to a 4.55 team ERA that was still fourth in the conference. Reynolds (7-6, 3.31 ERA, 127.2 IP, 108 SO) anchored the staff by replacing Gilmore, who was the team ace and MVP in 2005 and posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2004 and 2005.
Kunis' most difficult season came in 2007 when his staff struggled to a 6.01 ERA that was last in the Pac-10 and worst in Stanford history.
"It was quite an honor for me to have experienced the prestige of Stanford for eight seasons," said Kunis. "The history of Stanford and its academic prowess along with its perennial championship caliber athletics programs continue to impress me. It was especially a privilege to have served as a member of this baseball coaching staff that is led by the legendary accomplishments of Mark Marquess."
Kunis came to Stanford with excellent credentials as a pitching coach, having served in the same capacity at Cal Poly for four seasons (1996-99). During his tenure with the Mustangs, his staff consistently ranked among the best in the Western Athletic Conference (1996) and Big West Conference (1997-99). Kunis made a huge impact in his first season as the Mustangs' staff compiled an impressive 4.45 team ERA in just its second year of Division I competition.
Prior to his tenure at Cal Poly, Kunis served as the head coach at DeAnza College in 1995. In his lone season at the helm of the DeAnza program, he led the Dons to a 31-14-2 record and a berth in the NorCal Regionals. Kunis also spent three prior campaigns as DeAnza's pitching coach with his 1991 and 1992 staffs leading the Coast Conference in ERA.
Kunis' long line of coaching experience also includes four comparably successful seasons (1988-91) at his alma mater San Jose State where his staffs were the best in the Big West Conference for three straight years from 1988-90. Along with his pitching duties, Kunis' other responsibilities during the period included recruiting and student-athlete eligibility. He began his coaching career as the head assistant at West Valley College in Saratoga from 1984-87.
The 1982 San Jose State graduate earned a Bachelors degree in Kinesiology and later completed his Master's degree in Sports Administration from Saint Mary's College.
Coach Kunis and his wife, Kim, reside in San Jose with their five children - sons Austin (born August 31, 1993), Tyler (born August 16, 1995) and Landon (born December 14, 2001) and Cooper (born July 2, 2007); and daughter Megan (born September 29, 1996).
Last Updated: July 17, 2007