COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri baseball team will open the season with heavy hearts. Pitching coach Brian DeLunas died Sunday night from what the school described as a long battle with kidney disease.
DeLunas, a St. Louis native and former standout pitcher at Oakville High, joined Mizzou’s staff last summer after coaching at United from 2006 to 2009. He was 46.
DeLunas, who underwent a kidney transplant in his 30s, was working remotely but planned to join the team soon for preseason practices.
“Words cannot describe how heartbroken we are at the loss of our friend, Brian DeLunas,” Mizzou coach Steve Bieser said Monday. “In the months since returning to Mizzou, he has had an indelible impact on our team through his love of the game and its players as well as his inspiring courage off the pitch. Brian was a husband, a father , a wonderful brother and trainer, and our hearts go out to (wife) Johannah, (son) Rory, (daughter-in-law) Maren and the entire DeLunas family as we ask everyone to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Joining Mizzou’s roster for the upcoming season is Austin Cheely, DeLunas’ nephew.
“An amazing uncle and an even better coach,” Cheely tweeted Monday. “Glad to have had the chance to play for him, even for a short time. The world lost a truly amazing baseball spirit too soon.