SAN MARCOS — Former Cal State San Marcos head baseball coach Dennis Pugh died May 15, at the age of 73.
A legend of the sport in the San Diego area, Pugh started CSUSM’s baseball program from scratch in 2007.
When he retired from CSUSM following the 2016 season, Pugh had collected 282 career wins with the Cougars and had a winning season in eight of his 10 years with the program. He crossed the 30-win threshold in five of those seasons.
Some of Pugh’s best work occurred in 2015 as CSUSM recorded a program-record 36 wins. The Cougars went on to win their third A.I.I. Conference Championship in five seasons while making the program’s third NAIA Tournament appearance.
Under Pugh’s leadership, he saw three of his student-athletes get drafted by MLB clubs during his tenure while four others signed as free agents.
Prior to spearheading CSUSM’s baseball program, Pugh was the head coach of Mission Bay High School from 1979 to 2006, reaching the San Diego Section finals 10 times and winning eight section titles.
Pugh returned to Mission Bay in 2017 and was there until his passing. In addition to baseball, Pugh was the high school’s football coach for 13 seasons and racked up 86 wins and two San Diego Section titles.
Remembering Head Coach Dennis Pugh
Jennifer Milo – Cal State San Marcos Director of Athletics
“Like the rest of our Cougar family, I am at a loss for words. Dennis started our baseball program back in 2007, and he touched the lives of countless student-athletes throughout his years here. Many of us share numerous memories with Dennis that will never be forgotten. I am truly blessed to have worked alongside him during his time at CSUSM Athletics and he will be greatly missed.”
Brandon Bentson – Cal State San Marcos baseball player (2013-16)
“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to play all four years for Coach Pugh at CSUSM. He was a great coach, but an even better person. I knew that if I ever needed anything, he would be there to help. Coach Pugh always wanted what was best for his players. I remember when I was deciding between schools, Coach Pugh encouraged me to look into the other schools and make the best decision for myself. I made the right decision in playing for Coach Pugh and CSUSM. I cannot thank him enough for how he treated me, and he will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Matt Guiliano – Cal State San Marcos Head Baseball Coach
“Dennis was genuinely a great person. The impact on the lives of his student-athletes, peers, coaches and the entire Southern California baseball community was unmatched. I was fortunate enough to play against him in high school and coached against him in college. He was a special person and great baseball mind. Dennis is a legend, and he will not be forgotten.”
Mark Wilson – Cal State San Marcos Volunteer Assistant Baseball Coach
“I have a very small circle of true friends. Dennis is the center of my circle. Over the 20-plus years together, he taught me how to put a winning attitude both on the field and in the dugout… how to make everyone feel like they were a part of the team, no matter what role they played. Everything I have in my “coaching toolbox”, he helped me put in there. To #17, you truly are a legend and my best friend.”