Topeka, Kan. Washburn director of athletics Loren Ferre' announced Friday that former Ichabod all-MIAA outfielder Harley Douglas has been promoted to head baseball coach. Douglas was an assistant with the Ichabods the last three years and was named interim coach in July after the death of 35-year head coach Steve Anson.
Douglas is the first former Ichabod player to serve as Washburn's coach. He's the first new baseball coach at Washburn since Anson took over in 1980 and just the fifth person to coach the Ichabods since complete historical records were archived in the 1950s.
"It is an honor and privilege to be the next head baseball coach at Washburn University," said Douglas. "I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to follow a legendary coach and friend in the late Steve Anson."
Douglas is taking on his first collegiate head coaching job but he has been involved in baseball on many levels while also working in education. He is a Washburn graduate with two bachelor's degrees and a master's from Emporia State. He played in the New York Mets Minor League organization after his all-MIAA career as an outfielder at Washburn. He then served as a high school head coach before working as a special education teacher at Rossville Junior/Senior High School.
"We are very excited to announce Harley Douglas as our next head coach," Ferre' said. "He has a tremendous passion for the game and the program at Washburn. Along with his playing career here, he's also coached the last three years as an assistant and I know he'll be able to hit the ground running."
Douglas played for the Ichabods from 1997-2000. He signed with the Mets organization in 2000 and played in the rookie league for Kingsport and Single A for Pittsfield. He was an all-MIAA second team selection as an outfielder his senior year at Washburn. He finished with a .363 career batting average, the 13th highest in school history. He's second in school history with 11 triples and eighth with 136 runs scored. He's third with 75 career stolen bases. Douglas hit .417 in 2000 with 88 hits and he set the single-season record with 48 stolen bases. The Ichabods went 110-81 and advanced to the MIAA tournament every season during Douglas' four years.
Douglas graduated in 2002 from Washburn with an exercise physiology degree and in 2004 with an education degree. He earned a master's degree in adaptive special education from Emporia State in 2010.
Douglas acquired a 124-58 record in his eight years as a high school coach in Kansas. He started at St. Marys High School in 2003 and went 67-28 in four years. He then went to Lansing High School in 2007 and was 57-30 there. He led his team to top three finishes at state in five of his eight years as a head coach.
Douglas wants to build on the solid foundation Anson left and take the team to the next level.
"I am excited to work closely with the administration and very humbled to be a member of the illustrious coaching family at Washburn," he said. "Ultimately, I look forward to working with the tremendous players we have at Washburn University and our immediate goal is to make a run at the MIAA conference title."
Ferre' saw that passion during Douglas' time as interim head coach and during the hiring process. "He has the drive to take us to the next level and compete at the highest level in this conference."
Douglas will inherit a team that won 15 more games last year than it did in 2013. The Ichabods went 26-24 and finished sixth in the MIAA at 22-18. They finished just four games out of second place in the standings.
Douglas was born in Yates Center, Kansas, in 1978 and he graduated in 1996 form Yates Center High School. He and his wife, Amy, have three girls, Britnee, Ashley and Caylee, and a boy, Dreyson. They live in St. Marys, Kansas.