There is no doubt Dan Dunn is battle tested. With three state titles and three state runner-up finishes to his prep coaching credit in the 1970s and early ’80s, Dunn has credentials.
Physically, he’s been tested too as his knee replacement surgery on Tuesday afternoon attests.
With those badges and scars, Dunn is returning as head football coach at Gilbert High. Dunn replaces Jesse Parker, who resigned in early December after 10 years leading Gilbert.
“I’m happy to be back,” Dunn said. “I’ve still been at it since I left at different levels, but each level you’re dealing with young men and have a chance to impact them. My brother (Rick) is going to come back and help, so that’s a plus. I’m getting ready to meet with another coach and try to get him to be on staff with us. I’m excited.”
Dunn led Gilbert to 3A state championships in 1973 and 1975, and a 4A title in 1978. He also had runner-up finishes in 1977, ’79 and ’81. Dan Dunn’s overall record at Gilbert from 1971 through 1981 was 88-23-1.
Rick Dunn took over for Dan from 1982-89 and won a state title in 1985.
“I was at an old coaches meeting the other day and most of the coaches there were older than me,” Dunn said. “I mentioned I was going to have knee replacement and most of them said, “Oh yeah, I had that done 10, 15 years ago. I’m starting to catch up with them.”
Since leaving Gilbert and handing the reigns over to Rick, Dan Dunn has served as an assistant and head coach at Mesa Community College, been head coach at Payson High and served as an assistant at Mesa Red Mountain in the late 1990s and early part of this decade. He was on staff at Red Mountain when the Mountain Lions won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.