UNO’s Blake Dean receives 4-year contract extension
Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021
New Orleans head baseball coach Blake Dean has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will keep Dean on the Lakefront through the 2026 season.
Dean has 159 career victories in six seasons, third-most in program history. Last year, Dean led the Privateers to two wins in the Southland Conference Tournament, highlighted by three grand slams in a run-rule win over Northwestern State. New Orleans became the ninth program in NCAA history to hit three grand slams in a game. The Privateers finished the regular season second, the highest ranking since joining the Southland. The six all-conference selections tied for the most since 2008.
“I want to thank my Sport Administrator Steve Stroud, our Vice President of Athletics & Recreation Tim Duncan, and our President Dr. John Nicklow for giving me this opportunity,” said Dean. “The University of New Orleans holds a special place in my heart as they took a chance on a 27-year-old coach. I have called this great city of New Orleans home for nearly 10 years, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue my career here.”
“Blake Dean has proven to be a tremendous leader for our student-athletes and tremendous shepherd for our baseball program overall,” said Stroud, Deputy Athletic Director /Chief Development and Revenue Officer. “His values perfectly align with the University of New Orleans. We’re extremely excited that Blake has agreed to continue to lead our program for the foreseeable future and are eager to work with him in creating and sustaining a championship-winning program.
In 2021, Dean was the fifth-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I baseball by Baseball America.
In his six years on the Lakefront, the Privateers had four draft picks – Eric Orze (New York Mets, 2020 fifth round), Reeves Martin (Seattle Mariners, 2019 21st round), Bryan Warzek (Los Angeles Dodgers, 2018 sixth round), Shawn Semple (New York Yankees, 2017 11th round). Kyle Arjona (2018 Philadelphia Phillies) and Gaige Howard (2021 Los Angeles Dodgers) signed free agent deals.
The Privateers started getting hot in 2020, winning 11 of 14 games before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. New Orleans swept Arkansas State in that span, won series against UConn and Nicholls, and defeated Tulane in the first game of the Pelican Cup.
Salo Iza became the first Rawlings/ABCA Gold Glove winner in program history in 2019. Martin was named Collegiate Baseball Foundation, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball All-American in 2019 and the Privateers won the Pelican Cup from Tulane for a second consecutive season.
In 2018, the Privateers advanced to the championship game of the 2018 Southland Tournament as the No. 8 seed, defeating No. 1 Sam Houston State University and No. 4 Houston Baptist University (twice) to get there. The pitching staff, anchored by junior Bryan Warzek, finished 21stin the nation with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The inaugural revised Pelican Cup went to the Privateers after New Orleans took the season series over Tulane University 2-1.
In his six seasons, Dean has led the Privateers to four of the five league tournaments.
In his first season at the helm, UNO saw a 17-game turnaround, the eighth-best in Division I in 2016, while the team was one of 17 to increase their winning percentage by .200, boasting the fourth-highest improvement at .285.
The Privateers’ 31-26 record marked the first winning record for the baseball program since 2008 and qualified for the Southland Conference for the first time since joining the league prior to the 2013-14 academic year. The Privateers set eight-year highs in batting average (.300), total hits (600), doubles (77), on base percentage (.368) and fielding percentage (.966) saves (15), strikeouts (400) and the lowest opponent batting average in the span (.286).
Dean was named the University of New Orleans’ seventh head coach in history during the summer of 2015 following the retirement of Ron Maestri.
The home schedule continues to feature nationally-ranked programs in LSU, Louisiana, Southern Miss, South Alabama and Tulane.
The Privateers will host LSU on Tuesday, April 26, Tulane twice, a three-game set against Kansas and more. The full schedule can be found here.