Dunbar relishes dual roles with Asheboro ZooKeepers baseball team

Here’s Asheboro ZooKeepers general manager/coach Korey Dunbar outside the new ticket booth at McCrary Park. (Bob Sutton/Randolph Record)

Coach adds front-office duties for college summer team

ASHEBORO – Korey Dunbar saw the advantages of adding the title of general manager with the Asheboro ZooKeepers.

He’ll combine that role with his duties as the team’s second-year coach for the Coastal Plain League team, which begins play later this month.

Melissa Godwin stepped away from the general manager’s role after one year in the position.

Last fall, Dunbar became interested in an expanded role.

“We talked through some things,” he said. “It was a way for me to stay here full-time.”

That means more off-field responsibilities with the collegiate summer baseball team for Dunbar, a former University of North Carolina standout as a catcher.

“The ability to build that side of things,” he said. “All aspects of the organization, I’m overseeing.”

Following the pandemic and three seasons of construction or renovations at McCrary Park, Dunbar said he’s expecting smoother operations. Last year’s home schedule was altered, with games played at UNC Greensboro and others moved to road games before the ballpark was ready for fans.

Now, it should be full speed ahead.

“It’s such an important year for us,” Dunbar said. “It’s all heading in the right direction. We’re super-appreciative of the city and the workers who’ve gotten us this far.”

Dunbar, who lives in Garner with wife, Megan, began general manager duties in January. That includes putting together a roster of players along with sales and marketing.

“Coaching and recruiting, that’s sales,” he said. “It’s second nature to me. It’s baseball in all different aspects.”

Dunbar, who turned 30 in April, said he and Godwin collaborated on putting together the 2023 roster. This year, his role became heightened.

With McCrary Park renovations done in phases across multiple years, there’s still work going on. Parking areas should be upgraded and areas paved by the beginning of the season.

New LED stadium lights were installed in mid-April, something that Dunbar said makes a noticeable difference. ZooKeepers games are live streamed through FloSports, something that Dunbar said should be enhanced for better viewing this year.

“This place can be so special, making this Asheboro’s team,” Dunbar said. “I thoroughly enjoy being part of something that is bigger than myself and this is one of those things.”

The off-field staff includes Jennifer Marion as director of operations. Dunbar said the team plans to fill the game-day operations role as well.

Godwin moves on

After relinquishing the general manager’s role, Godwin remained with the ZooKeepers as director of game-day operations until departing this spring.

She has taken a position at Spartanburg (S.C.) High School.

She’s married to Billy Godwin, who stepped down as UNC Greensboro’s baseball coach in December to take a scouting position with the New York Yankees. Godwin said that allowed more flexibility in where to live, so she’ll be closer to family in South Carolina.

By Bob Sutton