Ohio Catcher Stays Close To Home

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When the Bobcats took on Xavier on April 2, Kyle Dean heard a familiar voice cheering him on when he stepped into the batter’s box at Bob Wren Stadium.

The voice belonged to Dean’s high school baseball coach, Fred Gibson.

It was not the first time Dean had heard a familiar voice; in fact, it has been a common occurrence in the three years that the Ohio catcher has spent as a Bobcat.

“It’s pretty nice to know that he is there at the games, even though he doesn’t have to be,” Dean says.

Dean’s family and friends regularly attend Bobcat home games to watch him play. The Bobcat backstop says his parents make it to most of the games in Athens. Making the trip to Bob Wren is not much of an issue for them. “(It’s) just a 15 minute drive from home,” Dean says.

Kyle and his family have been calling Athens home for more than a decade.

 “I grew up here for the most of my life and I really got to experience the atmosphere, especially with my mom, because she works for the athletic department,” Dean says.

His mother, Amy Dean, is the senior associate athletic director at Ohio University. In 1986 she earned her master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio. In 1999, she returned to Athens to become an assistant athletic director. In 2004 she was elevated to her current position.

Dean says that his mother’s position with the university played an important role in his decision to attend Ohio University.

First and foremost, her job brought the family to Athens. Her job led to Dean getting a lot of exposure to the university.

“The campus is really nice,” Dean says. “(Growing up), I went to a lot of the (college) basketball games, football games, and I went to a lot of hockey games too.” As for going to Ohio baseball games, Dean says he was only able to make it to a few games because high school baseball took up his time.  

Dean played high school ball at Athens High School. As a Bulldog, he spent four years behind the plate and lettered every season. In his senior season he was named to the Mizuno All-Ohio Team. In that same season he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Tri-Valley Conference and he earned all-district and all-conference honors. In his junior and senior seasons, he helped lead the Bulldogs to consecutive TVC titles.

According to Dean, who wears No. 3 on the field, he got a lot of offers from D-III colleges to play baseball. Ohio University was the D-I school that showed interest in him.

“I wasn’t really able to get out there and expose myself as much,” he says. Though other schools might not have gotten to see him, Ohio University got to see plenty of the Athens native.

The offer Dean received from Ohio, in combination with his familiarity with the university and the community, made his choice was an easy one.

“I was very fortunate for that to be an option,” he says. “There were a lot of things that went into me coming here.”

Because his mother is a university employee he is able to get free tuition. “Hopefully I’ll come out of (college) without any debt,” he says.

Other than baseball, Dean stays very busy. He likes to hunt with his father, Mark, and ride horses at his home. He also enjoys playing pick-up hockey. Dean picked up his love for hockey from his father, who played hockey at Miami University from 1981-85.

While Dean’s father was playing hockey at Miami, his mother was working on her bachelor’s degree. The two met in their senior year. Fortunately for the Dean family, their blood runs thicker than college allegiance.

Dean says that his father does not have an issue with their son, the Bobcat. “When it comes to playing Miami he’s still on our side,” he says.

Ohio will not take on Miami until May 16, but the Bobcats will be in action against Eastern Kentucky on April 10. First pitch in Bob Wren Stadium is set for 6:00 p.m.