Wichita St. ousts longtime baseball coach Stephenson

Wichita State terminated the contract of head baseball coach Gene Stephenson on Tuesday, parting ways with the NCAA's No. 2 all-time leader in victories after 36 seasons.

Stephenson amassed a 1,837-675-3 record with the Shockers, which trails only Texas' Augie Garrido for the most wins at the Division I level, and guided the program to seven College World Series appearances that included the 1989 national championship. However, Wichita State missed out on an NCAA bid for three consecutive seasons before losing both of its games in the Manhattan (KS) Regional this past weekend.

"We have reached a decision to go a different direction with the leadership of our baseball program," said Wichita State athletics director Eric Sexton. "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."

The Shockers reached the NCAA's 28 times during Stephenson's reign, which began in 1978, and claimed 20 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles. In addition, three Wichita State players were named the NCAA's Player of the Year, including former major leaguers Joe Carter and Darren Dreifort.

Sexton said assistant coach Brent Kemnitz will take over the program on an interim basis, with a national search to replace Stephenson to begin immediately.