Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Thanks, Coach

GeneStephenson in1977, photo courtesy KWCH
Highly successful and popular Wichita State University's long time baseball coach has been fired. When Gene Stephenson started as the head coach at WSU there was no baseball program. There was no place to practice or play, no equipment and no uniforms. He started it all from scratch.

Stephenson recently completed his 36th season as head coach at Wichita State after two losses in the 2013 Manhattan Regional, the first tournament appearance for WSU since 2009. His overall accomplishments also include the 1989 National Championship, seven College World Series appearances, 20 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles, 18 MVC Tournament titles and 54 All-Americans.Stephenson won more games in 36 years than any other Division I program, and he has a career record of 1,837-675-3 (.731).  He currently sits in second place in number of career Division I victories.

1977. The year I graduated high school. I gotta admit, I sure never noticed him and what he was up to until his teams started winning. I'm not even a baseball fan, but it was fun to watch his teams when they did appear on the tube.

There had been rumbling about his job for the past few years, so it wasn't a complete shock. His current and former players are not happy about this, either.

Perhaps he should have exited while it was his idea, but he's too much of a competitor to quit, and has stated he would still like to coach somewhere.

I wish Coach Stephenson all the best, and thank you, sir.


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