|The road has already gone full circle for Brian Pruitt in his short career as a college baseball coach.
The former Hatters player completed his journey back to the beginning this week when he was named as the new volunteer assistant coach for the Stetson baseball program by head coach Pete Dunn.
Pruitt replaces Matt Untiet, who left Stetson after two seasons in the role as volunteer assistant for a full-time assistant coaching position at the University of Rhode Island.
"I am really happy for Matt that he was able to secure a full-time position at Rhode Island," Dunn said. He will do a great job for them there, just as he did for us here at Stetson."
In replacing Untiet, Dunn had only to look a short drive down Interstate 95 to Barry University, where Pruitt just completed two years as a graduate assistant.
"We are extremely happy to have Brian back in the program," Dunn said. "Obviously he is very familiar with the Stetson University system. He was a hard-nosed player in our program and he will bring that same attitude back as a member of the coaching staff."
In his role as the volunteer assistant, Pruitt will work with the Hatters' outfielders, assist with the hitters and the strength and conditioning program and oversee the Pete Dunn Stetson Baseball Camps.
A native of Miami, Pruitt left Stetson following his junior season in 2008 after being drafted by the Washington Nationals. The realization set in quickly, as the result of two elbow surgeries, that his future would be somewhere other than as a player. As a result, he spent his spare time working to complete his degree.
He did that through an online program at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.
"Once I got into pro ball I saw the writing on the wall and I knew I wanted to coach," Pruitt said. "I wanted to hit the ground running so I spent all of the bus rides and time in hotels finishing up my degree. They have an online business management program, so I did that."
After walking away from the game as a player, Pruitt took a position outside Atlanta at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, Ga., where he was an assistant coach and substitute teacher.
"I coached high school ball for a year, but I knew that I wanted to coach at the collegiate level," Pruitt said. "I was able to get a graduate assistant position down at Barry University where I could coach and go to school. I did that for two years and wanted to get back to the Division I level."
He completed his Master's in Sport Management last May, while also working as an intern at Nova Southeastern University, working in academics, communications and game-day operations in the athletics department. Those two jobs completed a busy academic year than included his marriage to Stetson alum Megan Trombino in November.
Returning to Stetson was a goal Pruitt had hope to achieve in his coaching career.
"I actually preferred to come back to Stetson because I knew what to expect," Pruitt said. "I am really excited about being back here because this is a very established baseball program. Pete has a lot to offer in terms of knowing the game and there is much I can learn from being around here every day. That is especially true for situational baseball, because no one knows that better."
As a player at Stetson from 2006-08, Pruitt posted a .270 batting average in 165 games with 26 doubles, seven triples, 16 home runs and 121 runs batted in.
"We are just very happy to have Brian and his wife Megan back at Stetson," Dunn said.