Former Division I college players take roles with ZooKeepers staff

Korey Dunbar will be the head coach of the Asheboro ZooKeepers

ASHEBORO – A new coaching staff has been selected for the Asheboro ZooKeepers and there’s regional college flavor involved in those selections.

Former North Carolina catcher Korey Dunbar will be the head coach. Ex-North Carolina State pitcher Josh Pike will be the 2023 pitching coach.

The ZooKeepers are a Coastal Plain League team.

Dunbar, who has been on Barton College’s coaching staff for three seasons, played for North Carolina from 2012-15. That included a trip to the College World Series in 2013.

“I am extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead the Asheboro ZooKeepers for the 2023 season,” Dunbar said in information from the team. “I can’t wait to make an impact on the incoming talented players, the Asheboro community, and the entire ZooKeepers fan base.”

Dunbar takes over for Jeremy Knight, who stepped aside from summer college baseball after spending several years on those circuits. He was Asheboro’s head coach the past two years.

Dunbar was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 39th round out of high school and again by the Miami Marlins in the 20th round after his playing days at North Carolina. During college, he was a member of the CPL’s Wilson Tobs in 2013 and played in the Cape Cod League in 2014.

Josh Pike spent one season with N.C. State a player before transitioning into coaching. He was the USA Collegiate National Team bullpen coach in 2022 after a year of being the team’s pitching technician. Pike, who went to the College World Series with the Wolfpack in 2021, is well-versed in analytics, according to information from the ZooKeepers.

“Having the opportunity to coach in the CPL is something I will not take for granted,” Pike said. “I can’t thank the ownership and management enough for their support and passion for the game of baseball. (Next) summer, we are going to create an exciting baseball environment that breeds from a competitive culture while being conducive to player development. I’m more than excited to get the ball rolling and win as a ZooKeeper.”

The ZooKeepers were previously the Asheboro Copperheads until last winter’s change of nickname amid a revamped marketing campaign. The team plays at McCrary Park, which is undergoing a second consecutive offseason of renovations.

By Randolph Record