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Timothy Dunn Scholarship to support UNC Pembroke wrestlers

Former UNCP wrestler Tim Dunn died of an aneurysm in 2022 at age 31. Contributed photo

Tim Dunn’s love of wrestling started early. He was five when he first ventured onto the wrestling mat and as he grew, Dunn’s prowess as an athlete blossomed.

He was a standout in football and baseball, but wrestling was his first love, initially in New York and later at West Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem where the Dunn family moved during Tim’s high school years. Combined with his outgoing personality, wrestling served as Dunn’s vehicle for impacting others in a personal way.

“Tim had the ability to bring people together,” said his father, John Dunn. “He never met a stranger.”

When Tim selected UNC Pembroke to follow his dream of collegiate wrestling, he made new friends and brought everyone along for the ride.

“He had a large circle of friends — those from Winston-Salem and at Pembroke –– and he blended those groups together. Now they’re all friends. He just had a way of connecting with people,” John Dunn recalls.

Tragically, Tim Dunn’s life was cut short by an undetected aneurysm in 2022 at age 31. To honor their son’s legacy, John and Catherine Dunn recently made a $25,000 gift to establish the Timothy Dunn Endowed Wrestling Scholarship at UNC Pembroke. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a wrestling student-athlete who should be proud to model Tim Dunn’s values of exceptional work ethic, leadership, sportsmanship, motivation, mentorship, optimism and positivity.


O.T. Johnson, UNCP’s head wrestling coach, fondly recalled the attributes that allowed Dunn to serve as a natural leader.

“Timmy was an outstanding human being, great teammate and student-athlete who always knew how to bring energy and fun into the room,” Johnson said. “It was a joy to coach him and to later become his friend.”

John Dunn has preserved a whiteboard from Tim’s bedroom with words his son wrote shortly before his death. It reads: “What are you going to do today to get closer to your goals?” It was that focus and commitment to achievement that encapsulates Tim Dunn’s life, he says.

“Tim learned a lot at UNCP about life, responsibility and taking on leadership roles,” John Dunn said. “His coaches would tell you that he might not have been the most standout wrestler, but he could rally the team and say the right thing at the right time to get them motivated.

“He would be so happy about this scholarship.”

To support UNCP student-athletes with an additional gift to the Timothy Dunn Endowed Wrestling Scholarship or learn more about starting your own scholarship, contact Tyler Johnson, executive director of the Braves Club, at tyler.johnson@uncp.edu.

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