Eric Bunnell, a Northeast Ohio native, will be in his second season as an assistant coach with the Youngstown State baseball program in 2019-20.
Bunnell served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Chicago in 2018 and has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience.
In his first season with the Penguins, Bunnell helped coach four players to postseason Horizon League recognition. Blaze Glenn and Jeff Wehler were voted to the All-Horizon League Second Team for the second straight season, and Phillip Glasser and Dylan Swarmer earned nods to the All-Freshman Team.
Bunnell, who works closely with YSU's catchers, helped guide Swarmer to an impressive debut season. The true freshman started 41 of 54 games after being pressed into full-time duty early in the season due to injuries.
In a win over Wright State on May 4, Swarmer became the first YSU catcher to hit two home runs in a game since 2004. For his performance, he was named a National Top 30 Performer for May 4 by D1Baseball.com. Swarmer also became the first Penguin since 2012 to record five hits in a game when he went 5-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored at Penn State on April 9.
Swarmer led the Penguins and finished the season ranked tied for fourth in the Horizon League with three triples. Defensively, he ranked tied for fourth in the league with 11 runners caught stealing, and eighth with 256 putouts. He was also second on the team among regular starters with a .982 fielding percentage.
With Bunnell on the staff in 2018, UChicago tied the school record for wins in a season by posting a 26-13 record while the offense scored eight runs per game. Outfielder Maximiliano Larsen was named as an All-Region selection by D3baseball.com after ranking second in the nation with 23 doubles. Larsen also broke the school record for career doubles with 60.
In addition to working with the Maroons’ hitters, Bunnell also worked with the defense and base runners.
Bunnell spent the 2014-17 seasons as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. where he worked with infielders and base runners. The Pumas went 35-22 in 2017 on their way to earning berths in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) tournament and the NCAA Tournament. The Pumas posted a .968 fielding percentage in 2015, which was the program’s highest mark in more than a decade.
Prior to joining the staff at SJC, Bunnell served as the top assistant at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, from 2011-13. During his tenure, the program won 66 games over a three-year span and qualified for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tournament in back-to-back seasons. The Storm set a school record for wins in 2012 with 27.
In 2009 and 2010, Bunnell was an assistant coach at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. The Cardinals won the 2010 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) championship on their way to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Bunnell got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Mount Union, during the 2005-08 seasons. During that span, the Purple Raiders tied the school record for wins twice and made two conference tournament appearances.
In 2008, Bunnell was named Manager of the Year in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League after guiding the Stark County Terriers to a franchise-best 27 victories. Since 2004, 20 of his former players have gone on to play professionally.
During his playing career at Mount Union, Bunnell earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors in 2003 and was named to the All-Tournament team in 2002 after helping lead the Purple Raiders to the conference championship game.
A native of Conneaut, Ohio, Bunnell earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Mount Union as well as a master’s degree in liberal studies from North Central College. He was recently married to Alyson (Kieffer) Bunnell.