Former Ventura College Athletic Director, head wrestling coach and assistant football coach Jerry Dunlap passed away on September 30, 2020 in Omaha, Neb. Dunlap worked at VC for 38 years, including nine years as a coach and 17 years directing the Pirates' athletic programs.
"Jerry was a true pirate, a captain of the VC Athletics ship for many years spending countless hours at the helm." Said current VC Athletics Dean Tim Harrison.
"He helped coaches and students achieve their professional, athletic, and academic goals. He is a Pirate treasure and will be remembered for his commitment to the VC community and his advocacy for community college athletics. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, wishing him peace and a few more wins in the afterlife."
Dunlap was born on Nov. 14, 1941 in Ord, Neb. He graduated from Ord high School and was a four-sports standout at Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and twice was named All-American in football. He graduated in 1963 and returned to UNK to complete his master's degree in education. He was inducted into the Antelopes' Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.
Dunlap arrived at Ventura College in 1967 as the head wrestling coach and assistant football coach for the Pirates. Over the next nine years, he led the Pirate wrestlers to three Western State Conference titles in 1969, 1970 and 1971 and also helped VC to conference crowns in football in 1969 and 1973.
Jerry became Ventura College's Athletic Director in 1976 and held the post for 17 years. Ventura claimed 63 WSC championships while Dunlap was the AD, and Pirate Athletics claimed the WSC Athletic Supremacy Award in 1983, 1984 and 1989. His tenure included the incorporation of women's athletics into the California Community College Athletic Association and into the WSC, and Pirate athletic teams, both men's and women's, thrived under his leadership.
VC's women's cross country team won the 1983 state championship under head coach Tuck Mason, and Phil Mathews' 1987 men's basketball team also hoisted the state trophy. Dunlap was the AD welcoming Hall of Fame coaches Gary Anglin, Mathews, Ned Mircetic and Larry Baratte and his tenure presided over or laid the foundation for 12 of Ventura College's 16 state championships in women's cross country (1983), men's basketball (1987, 1995), men's swimming (2005, 2010) and women's basketball (1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2014).
Dunlap was also active on the conference and state level. He served as the President of the WSC from 1975 to 1989 and led the California Community College Athletic Director's Association as its president in 1980-81. He received the CCCADA Service and Honor Award in 1996.
Friends and colleagues alike were quick to praise Jerry Dunlap.
"He was always funny, always had a smile on his face and always could make me laugh," said Anglin. "Because of Jerry, I was fortunate enough to have been hired at VC."
"He was extremely dedicated to Ventura College and VC Athletics," said retired teacher, coach and Athletics Dean Steve Tobias. "His work ethic was exceptional. He was always the first to work and the last one to leave."
"He enjoyed life and liked to have fun, but still got the work done," said Tobias.
Hall of Fame VC football coach and Athletic Director Dick James arrived in Ventura at the same time as Dunlap. "He was a great guy to be around," said James. "He was loyal and passionate about his job. He always gave you the upside of things. He loved being the A.D."
"Jerry loved the college and he loved athletics," said retired Women's Athletic Coordinator Pat Raguse. "He was an all-around nice man, he cared about people and he loved what he did."
Dunlap retired from Ventura College in 2005 and moved to Omaha, Neb. To be closer to family. He spent time volunteering at an elementary school where his daughter, Krista Stephens was a teacher. Dunlap was also active in the Knights of Columbus and enjoyed spending time at his in-law's farm in central Nebraska.
"The campus was our second home," said Dunlap's son, Jerry Jr., who is now the Athletic Director at Napa Valley College in Northern California.
"I knew how much he loved VC. He never had to go to 'work' because he enjoyed his job," Dunlap Jr. continued.
"It seemed like our whole life was at the college. It was awesome."