Friday, 2/18/2000 - Updated 11:55 a.m. ----------------------------------------

Legendary Lipscomb baseball coach Ken Dugan dies By Jim Wyatt / Sports Writer

Lipscomb University baseball Ken Dugan, called a pioneer in his sport by many of his colleagues, died today. Dugan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early-90s and also had respiratory problems in his latter years, was 64. sports

"'Ken Dugan ushered in an era when baseball became prominent in the Midstate," said former Vanderbilt Coach and ex-Nashville Sounds owner Larry Schmittou. "He was totally dedicated to baseball. ... He was also a great man."

Dugan compiled a record of 1,137-460 in 37 seasons (1960-96) at the school. He guided Lipscomb to NAIA national championships in 1977 and '79 and his '84 squad won a college baseball record 34 straight games. He also played at Lipscomb from 1954-57 and set school records for batting average (.456) and slugging percentage (.824) that still stand today.

Dugan battled health problems for more than a decade. He had triple-bypass heart surgery in 1986 and also suffered from what he called calcified lungs, which left him with limited breathing capacity. Dugan used a wheelchair in recent months as well as an oxygen tank.

"When you're a coach, you're a part of a fraternity and you get close to the people you compete against," Cumberland University baseball coach Woody Hunt said. "I'm sorry he had to come down with his sickness at the end and I wish he could've gone out a different way. I've always thought the world of him ... Coach Dugan was a tremendous man."

Dugan is survived by his wife, Diane; daughter Christi; and sons Mike and Kurt. His brother, Jerry, a successful high school basketball coach in Huntsville, Ala., was also at his side in the final hours.