Former Belmont baseball coach Dave Whitten died on Wednesday, university officials confirmed. He was 84.
Current head coach Dave Jarvis said Whitten had been battling health complications for several months. Jarvis said he and athletics director Mike Strickland had lunch with Whitten and his wife, Martha, at their home in Murfreesboro three weeks ago. Jarvis called the visit a “really blessed afternoon” before Whitten’s condition worsened.
“Dave Whitten was one of the dearest friends I had in my entire life,” Jarvis said. “Everybody he touched remembered him in the kindest way. The world is going to miss him.”
Whitten coached at Belmont for 29 seasons before retiring in 1997. He is the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 655-453 record. He was named the coach of the year five times and won three straight Volunteer State Athletic Conference championships from 1975-77. The 1976 team was ranked seventh in the NAIA.
After retiring, he stayed on Jarvis’ staff for three years as pitching coach and helped Jarvis and the Bruins in their transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I.
He was a charter member of Belmont’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1998, he was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“Every thought I have is that Dave Whitten is Belmont baseball,” Jarvis said. “He is the person who put that program on the map and laid all the foundations that make it the program that it is today. It was Dave’s hard work and dedication ... are the cornerstones of everything that he built there at Belmont baseball.”