Gene Stephenson is out as the coach of the Wichita State Shockers baseball team.
The coach made the announcement while fighting back tears Tuesday afternoon. He said he and most of the coaching staff had been let go. Pitching coach Brent Kemnitz is remaining on staff for another year.
Stephenson said the process wasn't handled properly, but that it wasn't his decision. He hopes to coach again somewhere else.
After the announcement, Wichita State issued the following news release:
Head Baseball Coach Gene Stephenson’s contract has been terminated, Director of Athletics Eric Sexton announced today.
“We have reached a decision to go a different direction with the leadership of our baseball program,” Sexton said. “Following an evaluation of the program as a whole and a presentation of the options, the decision became clear that this is the proper time to move into a new phase of Shocker Baseball.
“We thank Coach Stephenson for his years of service and the efforts he has made in his life’s work building this program from the beginning.”
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.
“Brent Kemnitz will assume day to day responsibilities and operations of the baseball program,” Sexton said. “Negotiations have begun to extend Brent's contract (which already runs through 2014) to remain on staff, and be a part of Shocker Baseball moving forward. He has removed himself as a candidate for the Head Coaching position.
“We will begin a national search immediately to name the next Head Coach at Wichita State.”