Collegiate Coaching Veteran Dusty Blake Joins Cardinals Staff

photo: Dusty Blake and Duke players (via Twitter)

In 2020, the St. Louis Cardinals added a new position on their major league coaching staff, as former minor league infielder Patrick “Packy” Elkins was brought into the uniformed ranks as the “Run Production Coach”. The title seems quite self-explanatory, with a focus on deploying data to get more out of the offense.

Dusty Blake (Duke University)

For 2021, the team has made another addition to address the other key aspect of the game – pitching. St. Louis’ uniformed major league coaching staff has been expanded with the creation of the “Pitching Strategist” position. The man named to the job is well-known in the collegiate ranks, former Duke University pitching coach Dusty Blake.

Blake, 39, joined the Blue Devils in 2017, having served as assistant coach and pitching coach. His responsibilities included day-to-day operations for Duke’s pitchers as well as managing scouting reports. His charges set new school season records in strikeouts in both 2018 and 2019, and were 14th in the nation in the latter year.

Prior to Duke, Blake served as head coach and associate athletic director at NCAA Division II Pfeiffer University (NC). He led the Falcons to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003-04 while also leading the team to consecutive appearances in the conference tournament championship game along with raising funds to improve facilities.

Earlier, Blake coached at USC Upstate, Wofford College, Catawba College and in the Coastal Plain League (summer ball) after opening his coaching career at Pfeiffer as pitching coach and outfield instructor.

Blake has also enjoyed a long-standing association with Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and his primary charity, Baseball For Life. Shildt has offered Blake “career advice” over the years.

Since 2012, Blake has served on the advisory board of the non-profit organization which hosts free clinics, repairs fields, provides equipment and offers mentorship opportunities within the Charlotte, North Carolina community.

Blake graduated from Appalachian State University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and played baseball as a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pitcher for the Mountaineers from 1999-2003. He received his master’s degree in organizational business and leadership from Pfeiffer in 2006.

Dusty hails from Candor, North Carolina. He and his wife Amy reside in Boiling Springs, South Carolina with their daughter, Mia.

Note: With this hiring, the Cardinals did not net up one coaching position for 2021. Blake essentially takes the spot of 2019-2020 “Run Prevention Coach” Joey Prebynski, who has taken a position with the Los Angeles Angels.

For further background

In the following podcast from 2020, Blake discusses his coaching background and philosophies in considerable depth.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Acquire Tall Right-Handed Reliever Johan Quezada

Now Available – 2021 Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – Now Available!

Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.