Stotz leaves his Stanford family for his own | September 27, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 27, 2013

Stotz leaves his Stanford family for his own

Veteran assistant finally parts ways with Marquess after a remarkable and successful 37-year run together

by Mark Soltau

Stanford head baseball coach Mark Marquess hired Dean Stotz in 1977. It was the same year that Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States, the first Apple II computer went on sale, Star Wars opened in movie theaters, Elvis Presley died, Seattle Slew became the 10th horse to win the Triple Crown, and gas was 25 cents a gallon.

Since then, Marquess and Stotz may have spent more time together than with their wives, but that is about to change. After 37 years as Marquess' right-hand man, Stotz announced his retirement last Friday.

"I promised myself if I ever got to the point where I didn't know if I had enough energy to be fair with my players, that I would seriously take a look at it," said the 60-year-old Stotz, known to players as "32" because of his uniform number. "The role I have with the bulk of recruiting requires an unbelievable amount of time to make it work."

Stotz and his wife Kathy have five children, and thought long and hard about the decision. Ultimately, the timing seemed right.

"We sold our house in Palo Alto and a lot of things lined up in a row to make it happen," he said. "It's time we lived life a little bit more on the family's terms."

Stotz pitched for Stanford in 1974 and 1975 and earned an economics degree. After a brief coaching stint at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Stotz was hired by Marquess, then a first-year head coach, to lead his freshmen team.

They have been together ever since to comprise the longest active head and assistant coaching tandem in the nation.

"To be together for that many years is really amazing," said Marquess, who is entering his 38th season as head coach. "He did a fantastic job. I don't think there's ever been a situation where you've had a head coach and assistant coach together that long. He's had more than a couple chances to leave and he didn't because he loved the place so much. It's a sad time for me and an exciting time for him.

"People recognize him in different places, not just here. Everybody knows Dean and thinks the world of him."

Stotz played for the Sacramento Airport Little League team that won the Western USA title and played in the Senior League World Series championship. At Stanford, he helped Marquess capture College World Series crowns in 1987 and 1988, finish runner-up three times, make 17 appearances in Omaha, and win 12 conference championships.

In addition to overseeing recruiting, Stotz worked with pitchers and hitters, tutored players in every phase of the game, coached third base, and helped Marquess strategize.

"He's really knowledgeable," said Marquess. "There's no better evaluator of talent than Dean. He's got that knack, and he's not afraid to make a decision, which has always helped me."

Marquess has special appreciation for his base-coaching skills.

"You can't win that one," he said. "You want to be a first base coach because nobody notices you."

It's not called the hot corner for nothing.

"I've made some brutal decisions, but not one time have I come back to the dugout in 30-some years and have him go, 'How in the hell did you wave that guy in?' '' said Stotz.

Therein lies the secret of their friendship and longevity.

"It's been a great relationship," Stotz said. "He's innately shy and I'm extraverted. It's a lot of role reversal that's really fit and matched. He's allowed me to do what I do well and he's recognized what I don't do well. He's tedious and brings that energy every day. His mind is so strong. I don't know how he does it."

To the best of their recollection, they have never been at odds.

"We've never had a serious falling out," said Marquess. "Not one time. We would argue about who to recruit, who to play, or what to do in certain situations. But that respect was there. We've worked together for so long, we kind of know what each other is thinking."

Although their offices are about a foot apart, some days they hardly talk.

"He's given me great freedom," Stotz said. "There are days we don't say five sentences to each other. He's never told me what I need to do."

Stotz enjoys staying in touch with former players, whether it's checking on their careers, families, setting up a reunion or golf game, or arranging football tickets.

"He is the conduit,'' said former Cardinal player and local businessman Vince Sakowksi '83. "They (Marquess and Stotz) complement each other."

Growing up, Stotz and his buddies went to church, then hightailed it to the local junior high to play sports. They officiated their own games and established their own rules.

"We played tackle football," he said. "The biggest guy on the block could only run the ball on third down because we couldn't tackle him three times."

When he was 12, an elderly neighbor asked his father if he would mow her lawn. "I'll pay him a little bit," she told his dad, who quickly volunteered Dean's services.

When Stotz went to the house, it was mid-July and the heat was unbearable. It didn't take long to mow the front yard, but when he went to the back, it was two-thirds of an acre.

"One swath across and my basket was full," he said. "And it gets worse."

There was no mow strip along the fence line, so he had to clip the grass by hand. He also cleaned the gutters and pruned her bushes. His reward for eight hours of labor: $2.

"Dinner came around and my father asked me how it went and I shared the same story," said Stotz. "He listened and put his fork down. And then he said, 'She's 70 and you're 12. You'll do it for nothing.' End of story."

Lesson learned.

"The way the Stotz family does things, if somebody needs your help . . . You're going to help them," Stotz said. "And that's embedded in my life."

Asked what he is proudest about during his 37-year tenure, Stotz answers quickly.

"I think when we started, people didn't think we could win on a consistent basis," said Stotz. "And to prove them all wrong and be so good is very rewarding."

He's also proud of his relationships with the players and truly appreciates their special qualities.

"These kids fascinate me," he said. "If you just spend time to get to know them, they're opinionated, but in a good way. That side of them intrigues me as much of them becoming a ballplayer. I'm not any prouder of Carlos Quentin going on to being a big leaguer than I am of guys just being good people, good parents and salt of the earth."

Marquess expects Stotz to return to oversee his summer baseball camps, so he figures to spend time around The Farm. Ultimately, he and Kathy want to move southeast — maybe to Nashville — where they met. He loves country music and looks forward to a slower pace where neighbors know each other by their first names and are never too busy to help.

Perhaps the biggest void will be felt at Jimmy V's Cafe, where Stotz holds court daily with coaches, staff and student-athletes.

"He's got a million stories and he tells them so well," said Marquess. "I think where they're really going to miss him is down in the lunch room."


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