Husband, father, friend, and Coach Sheldon “Shelly” Dunkel rounded third base for the last time on May 22, 2023 passing away at the age of 86 surrounded by his loving family. Known to many as Coach Dunk, and to his grandkids as “Gar,” short for cigar, because you never saw him without one in his mouth, Shelly was born in the Bronx, NY to Irving and Sarah (Meltzer) Dunkel on March 3, 1937.
Married to the love of his life Cyndy for almost 62 years, he found his first base coach and partner the old- fashioned way – on a blind date set-up by a cousin. Together, they created a line-up that included daughter Laurie (Joel) Cohen, son Joel (Lisanne) and daughter Erica. From there the Dunkel roster expanded to include grandkids Stuart, Stefania, Brian (Shayna), Samuel (fiancé Ana), Zachary, Madelyn, Ilyssa, and a soon to be named bench player, i.e., a great grandson who is being called-up/born in five months.
Shelly starred at Miami High as an all-county baseball player, which then led him to the University of Miami where he starred and captained the team from (’55-’58). From there, his love of baseball took him to Northwestern High School (’70-’76) where he led them to their greatest success in 50+ years. Miami Springs High School came calling in ’76 and he coached there for the next 21 years, culminating with the honor of having a field (Shelly Dunkel Field) named after him. A member of three different Halls of Fame, Shelly certainly made an impact on the field and more importantly, off it, evidenced by the bonds he has to this day with many of his former players.
Services will be held on Thursday, May 25 at 12:30pm at Mt. Nebo Kendall Memorial Gardens, 5900 SW 77 Avenue, Miami, FL. If you would like to make a donation, we ask that you support the baseball program at Miami Springs High School. Donations can be made to; Hawks Baseball Booster Club, Inc. 751 Dove Ave., Miami, FL 33166.
Please feel free to share your memories of Coach Dunkel in the comments section below or via social media.