Dennis Denning Obituary, Death – The death of longtime coach Dennis Denning, who was well-liked across the St. Paul baseball community, is tragic. He was 76. According to officials at the University of St. Thomas, where he was both a player and a coach, he died on Wednesday morning after dealing with “a number of health concerns.” The University of St. Thomas baseball team said via Twitter, “Coach Denning is a living legend.” Baseball was inspired by his influence on hundreds of people, and as a result, we have all become better people simply by knowing him.
Denning led the Tommies from 1995 to 2009, according to a press announcement issued by the university. He formerly coached the Raiders at Cretin-Derham Hall, where he led the team to six state championships. Denning was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1965 after attending Cretin-Derham and St. Thomas. He later worked as a coach. He had already spent three years in the minor leagues when his career was cut short due to injury. He went on to become a coach in St. Paul, where he was a successful coach with both the Raiders and the Tommies, winning 901 games in his career.
He led Cretin-Derham Hall to six state large-class championships, 15 St. Paul City Conference championships, and a 379-76 overall record during his stint as head coach. Following that, he took over as head coach of the Tommies in 1995, and the team qualified for the NCAA Division III College World Series for the first time under his direction in 1999. Two years later, St. Thomas would win the national championship, and he would lead the team to a second title in his final year as coach (2009).
“The baseball world lost a good coach and a better guy today,” said Chris Olean, the current coach of St. Thomas University’s baseball team and a former All-American pitcher who played for Denning. “Coach Denning was a once-in-a-lifetime individual who demonstrated how men should be led. When I think back on my time with him as a player and an assistant coach, I realize that his baseball knowledge and teaching ability were unparalleled.” Denning was honored in 2012 when he was elected into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the St. Paul Mancini’s Hall of Fame and the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame. These two halls of fame are located in St. Paul, Minnesota.