After 16 years heading up Dunedin’s baseball program, Tom Hilbert is stepping down.
Hilbert, 43, will remain a teacher at the school and has accepted a volunteer non-coaching position with St. Petersburg College’s baseball team.
“This wasn’t easy,’’ Hilbert said. “I’ve worked with some great people and being head coach at Dunedin has been my pleasure. But ultimately I want to coach in college and I’d like to do it for the next 30 years. This is my chance to do that.’’
St. Petersburg College is coached by former Dunedin player Ryan Beckman.
While at Dunedin, Hilbert won 360 games and 13 district championships, and a state championship in 2008. Including four years at Dixie Hollins, Hilbert has 409 wins overall. Hilbert took over for another long-time coach, Greg Nichols, who was with the Falcons 26 years before retiring.
Last season, Dunedin was 18-10 and advanced to the Class 5A region semifinal, falling 11-1 to Jesuit.
Hilbert said he met with his players Wednesday afternoon.
“I was nervous about it, and I still am a little bit,’’ said Hilbert, who played at Dunedin from 1985-88. “I’ve never done anything like this.
But (the players) understood. After 16 years I think I need a little bit of a breather. I know college has more games, but I’m not the guy in charge anymore. I can relax a little bit.’’
Hilbert was the longest tenured public school baseball coach in the county. A replacement has not been named.