Longtime Tommies baseball coach retiring

Dennis Denning
University of St. Thomas baseball coach Dennis Denning announces his retirement at an on-campus press conference in St. Paul on Dec. 15, 2009. He coached the Tommies to two national championships during his 15 years.
MPR Photo/Tom Weber

The longtime baseball coach at the University of St. Thomas is retiring after 15 years and two national championships.

Dennis Denning is leaving St. Thomas on top - his Tommies are the defending Division III national champions. The 65-year-old said he probably should stay another year but he's not up to the physical demands.

"My feet are bad, my knees are bad - I'm just sort of an old horse," he said. "I just don't have the energy."

Besides winning two national championships and more than 500 games at St. Thomas, Denning's team also made a historic trip to Cuba in 2000 to play the University of Havana.

Before that, Denning coached at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul for 15 years and winning six state championships. That makes him the only coach to ever win both a college national title and a high school state title for Minnesota schools.

More about Dennis Denning:

-- During Denning's tenure, St. Thomas won Div. III national championships in 2001 and 2009; the Tommies were national runners-up in 1999 and 2000.

-- Denning was named National Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2009.

-- His record at St. Thomas was 522-157; his record at Cretin-Derham Hall was 379-76, giving him 901 career victories.

-- On June 14, 1966, as a minor league player for the Miami Marlins, Denning played all 29 innings of a marathon game against St. Petersburg. Miami won 4-3; the game is the longest uninterrupted game in baseball history.

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