High School: Oakmont
College: UC Riverside, Long Beach State
* NFL Career: 8 Years (San Francisco, Detroit)
* 2 Time Super Bowl Champion (XVI, XIX)
* 1st Round Draft Pick (1978)
Dan Bunz is a true native of Roseville and has had a love of football from an early age. Watching his older brothers, Ben & Dennis, he wanted to emulate them. While attending Warren T. Eich, Danny wanted to try out for the Roseville Bobcats Pop Warner football team. That didn’t go well: as he was too skinny & small. He was cut from the team and this experience has stuck with him in all areas of his life, “That was the worst feeling I had ever felt, and I never wanted to feel that way again.” The only way was to be sure he was always fully prepared for everything he would do.
Over the summer going into high school he grew 4 inches and put on some weight, and eventually grew 6 inches in a one year span. Dan attended Oakmont High School which wasn’t a real popular decision among some of his family and friends since his older brother Ben; whom he looked up to went to arch rival Roseville High. His mom was the secretary at Oakmont and the football coach was actively recruiting her son. Dan was a three sport star at Oakmont also playing basketball and running track. He was the MVP of the basketball team averaging 16 points per game and qualified for the sections in Track and Field in the High Jump and Long Jump. Football was his first love as he was an All Metro selection and leading tackler in the area.
When it came time for college, Dan knew it was a natural fit to follow his brother to UC Riverside. He had several schools looking at him and went on many school visits. It wasn’t until later that he found out his brother had told all the other schools he was already committed to Riverside. Dan will be the first to tell you that everything happens for a reason. It was there he actually played on both the Freshman and Varsity teams in the same season. One scout later said he played more college football games than anyone else in the history of the sport. In today’s NCAA world that wouldn’t be allowed. He left after one year when his coach took a job at Long Beach State. It was there Dan started to make NFL teams take notice. Playing in the NFL was something that seemed like a childhood dream, but something he never really thought would be a reality. Being so determined, he would never pass up a workout or performance test for any scouts or coaches. He did over 100 of them.
In 1978, Dan’s dream came true and he was drafted in the 1st round - not by just any team but by his favorite one: the San Francisco 49ers. When he was asked what he was going to do now, Dan said, “I’m going to get ready for camp. I’m going to make the team.” This made everyone chuckle because he was a 1st round draft pick, of course he would make the team. But to Dan the memory of being cut from his Pop Warner team was still in the back of his mind, and he was never going to be cut again!
After a couple of rough early years, the 49ers were about to be the team of the decade. With Owner Eddie DeBartolo, and new Head Coach, Bill Walsh; Dan was playing in the Super Bowl in his 4th season. It was Super Bowl XVI where the world would know Dan Bunz. He made the defensive play of the game and one of the most famous goal line stands in Super Bowl history. With Cincinnati ready to score from the 1 yard line, it was a critical 3rd and goal when Dan made - “THE STOP”
He was part of the rich San Francisco 49ers tradition for seven years and won two Super Bowl Titles with this historic franchise. He is one of the best defensive players in 49ers history.
Dan played 8 seasons in the NFL but is remembered for more than just football. He is a successful business man and entrepreneur. His restaurant Bunz & Company, which he opened while playing in the NFL, has been a longtime favorite for Roseville area sports fans for more than 30 years and is a fixture in the community. Currently, Dan and his wife Elizabeth own and operate Bywater Hollow Farms, where they grow lavender and produce lavender products. This is truly a family run business as both his daughters, Ashley and Courtney help with the products and public relations.
Dan has been an excellent role model as a teacher and coach in the Sacramento area for nearly 30 years, with the last 22 years working at Sutter Middle School. His commitment to his hometown and being a fixture in this community has made him one of the most recognizable and respected people in our area.
“I am very honored to be an inductee to the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. To be selected from so many great athletes is deeply humbling. I am proud to represent the Sacramento Valley as a ‘native son’, having been born and raised in Roseville and having spent my entire athletic career in Northern California. Thank you.”