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Dupic milestone a celebration of program success, fulfilling memories

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 10, 2023 in Baseball

As word spread that Ryan Dupic had become the winningest head coach in the history of Concordia Baseball, the people that felt the greatest elation were all those associated with the program NOT named Ryan Dupic. Now in his ninth season at Concordia, Dupic would rather the accolades and the praise go to the players and staff members who helped accumulate those 250-plus victories since his tenure began with the 2015 season. As of the end of action on Thursday (March 9), Dupic’s all-time record stood at 253-153-1.

The former Buena Vista University standout pitcher and lead assistant coach got his first opportunity to take over his own program when he arrived in Seward. In the era of the GPAC (2000-present), the program had made strides, but there had not been a winning record since 1979 (at the time Dupic was hired as head coach).

Beyond the wins, Dupic’s squads since 2015 have broken just about every program record in the books, have won a combined five GPAC titles, reached four national tournaments and even did something that would have seemed unthinkable, years ago, for Concordia Baseball – appear at the NAIA World Series.

Dupic can deflect credit because he’s put good people around himself. Tweeted Dupic in response to the milestone victory, “My family, our coaches, players, athletic department leadership and Concordia Baseball parents have collaborated to accomplish some things during our time at CUNE. I believe in group accomplishments, not individual. Thank you to so many who have invested in the lives of people (associated with the program).”

In other words, Dupic is just fine celebrating a milestone when it can be placed in the context of the program’s overall success and the people who have come along since 2015. So many of those key individuals felt moved to share their own thoughts via social media. The impact Dupic has had on the players and assistant coaches he’s mentored has been felt in meaningful ways. Players past and present were genuinely ecstatic to share in Dupic’s milestone achievement.

In terms of his humility, Dupic hasn’t changed since the day he arrived in Seward. It isn’t lost on him how the pieces around him came together to make this successful. Dupic reflected briefly on the dynamics that led to this point. If no one had told him, Dupic wouldn’t have realized he was about to rise to the top of the program’s wins list.

Said Dupic, “Caleb Lang kind of prepared me for it. I wasn’t counting it down or anything like that. He said that was coming. I do think it’s a celebration of the program. Angela Muller was down here (in Florida), and I got a text from Devin (Smith). Bryce Berg was at the game, and he obviously played a key role in helping build our program. Caleb is part of our staff now and he’s played a huge role in getting us to another level. Both my parents were here. It was kind of a family dynamic. I got a lot of text messages. I think we have a really good team, so I’m excited about this group being a part of that.”

Just to add to the humility, Ryan’s mother Carol had her son pose for a picture with the game ball after win No. 251. Ryan had done the same after his very first win back in 2015. Parents Rick and Carol Dupic have a lot to proud of (as they are of each of their boys). Ryan overcame cancer in 2017 during a year that saw Concordia win the GPAC regular season title and reach the national tournament for the first time ever. The players rallied around their head coach, who was physically weakened by his cancer.

The Concordia Baseball family helped Dupic through some of the roughest moments of his life while making for some of the best moments of his life. He’s been blown away by the number of people who have reached out to congratulate him on win No. 251. The relationships will be remembered long after any single victory on the ballfield.

Said Dupic of the numerous tweets, texts and calls he received, “It shows how many people have been invested in it. It’s my name on it, but I don’t really view it that way. It’s a cool thing for the program.”

Tweets from the Bulldog Family …

Devin Smith: “Under coach’s leadership, we are a consistent conference contender and a nationally relevant brand. Most importantly, coach is a God-fearing man who readily shares the gospel.”

Caleb Lang: “This has been an amazing three years working with coach. I have learned a tremendous amount and it’s truly been a blessing. Winning is simply byproduct of the work and culture he has put together in his tenure.”

Bryce Berg: “Grateful I was able to see win 251 in person. Truly amazing journey leading this program through these 251 wins. Incredible program builder, developer of men and mentor to so many people. Sko Dawgs and congrats Ryan Dupic!”

Wade Council: “He will likely give all credit to his assistants and players, which is what makes him special.”

Teyt Johnson: “Congrats! Even though all you do is talk into a walkie talkie all game!”

Conner Watson: “This is a byproduct of his ability to build a winning culture, clearly defining expectations, treating everyone like family, and developing people. Eternally grateful for Ryan Dupic.”

Zach Pinkerton: ‘GOAT emoji’

Kevin Tompkins (Concordia parent): “Coach runs a first-class program and treats every player like his own. Very grateful for my son being part of it.”

Accomplishments during Dupic’s tenure:

·        253-153-1 overall record

·        2021 NAIA World Series Qualifier

·        Four national tournament appearances

·        Five total GPAC championships (three regular season, two postseason)

·        School record 42 wins in 2021

·        Other major school season records broken for runs scored, home runs and pitching strikeouts

·        Above .500 record every season (prior to tenure, program had not had a winning season since 1979)