Wichita State's new head baseball coach says he'll make it a goal to recruit the best prospects in Kansas to the Shockers.
Todd Butler was introduced Monday as the successor to Gene Stephenson, who was fired June 4 after 36 seasons. Stephenson left as the second-winningest coach in Division I history.
KFDI-FM reports (http://bit.ly/17Ud2F2 ) Butler told a news conference he'll be carrying a "heavy torch" following Stephenson.
Butler has coached for 23 years and spent the last eight at Arkansas, most recently as associate head coach. During his tenure on the Arkansas staff, the Razorbacks went to eight NCAA tournaments, claimed two SEC Western Division titles and made two College World Series appearances.
Butler says he doesn't want prospective Shockers to leave Kansas for out-of-state schools, adding he's "ready to get on fire to recruit."
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Todd Butler has been named the head baseball coach at Wichita State University, Director of Athletics Eric Sexton announced today.
Former coach Gene Stephenson was fired after 36 years at the helm of the WSU program.
“Todd is highly regarded as a baseball coach, brings a passion for baseball and success, and has a wonderful family,” Sexton said. “He brings a resume worthy of the success Wichita State is accustomed.
Wichita State will hold a press conference at 2 p.m., Monday in the All-American Club at Eck Stadium to introduce Butler. The WSU Athletic Department will also host a public meet and greet Monday night from 5-7 p.m., which will also be held in the All-American Club at Eck Stadium.
Butler comes to Wichita State from Arkansas where he was the Associate Head Coach since 2005, his 16th as an assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference.
On the Razorback staff he served as the hitting instructor, outfield coach and recruiting coordinator, and was promoted to Arkansas’ associate head coach following the Razorback's 2012 College World Series berth.
"Tomorrow will be the greatest day in my 23 years of coaching,” Butler said. “The opportunity to be the next head coach of the Wichita State Shockers, a storied program with tradition, a National Championship and continuous seasons of greatness is a blessing.
"The program has great former players, fantastic fans and a great University and community behind it. I look forward to replicating and building upon the great program that Gene Stephenson built, and also look forward to getting back to the glory days.
"I have great confidence in Brent Kemnitz, one of the best pitching coaches in the country. The stability he brings is a plus, and it gives me confidence in knowing I can lean on him in the transition.
"The exciting part is going to be contacting the returning players, and beginning relationships as we work toward a great Fall season that will carry into the Spring of 2014.
"I want to thank Eric Sexton for his professionalism during the search and his confidence in me to lead Wichita State into the future. I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming days and getting to work following Monday's press conference."
During Butler’s 21-year career as a NCAA Division I assistant or head coach, he has helped his teams to five College World Series appearances, 17 NCAA regionals, four NCAA super regionals, six conference tournament championships and his teams have been ranked No. 1 four times in his career. In addition, Butler has coached 31 All-Americans, 124 players drafted in the MLB Draft and 20 Major League players.
In his eight seasons at Arkansas, Butler helped the Razorbacks to eight NCAA Tournaments, which included two College World Series appearances and three NCAA super regional appearances. The Razorbacks have also claimed two SEC Western Division titles in his tenure.
Most recently, Arkansas went 39-22, which included a berth in the Manhattan, Kan., Regional where the Razorbacks came one win from its second-straight Super Regional.
For the second time in his tenure at Arkansas, Butler helped the Razorbacks to the College World Series in 2012. Arkansas finished the 2012 season with 46 victories, the most wins in a season since 1990 and the sixth-highest single-season total in school history. The Razorbacks finished the season ranked in the top six in all four of the major college baseball polls, including a final No. 3 national ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, the NCBWA poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll.
Butler also constructed 10 recruiting classes that ranked among the nation’s top 10 including five in his eight years with the Razorbacks.
On the field, Butler also made a impact with the Razorbacks as his teams have produced five of the top 10 home run hitting clubs in Arkansas history.
Butler came to Fayetteville after two assistant coaching stints (eight total years) at the University of Alabama and three years as the head coach at his alma mater, McNeese State.
In 2001, Butler took over as head coach at McNeese State in his hometown of Lake Charles, La., where he compiled a 90-83 (.520) overall record in three seasons. In his last season at McNeese, he guided the Cowboys to the 2003 Southland Conference Tournament championship, their first in 10 years.
The win at the conference tournament secured just the fourth NCAA Regional bid in McNeese State’s history and the Cowboys were sent to the Houston Regional. Butler’s team gave eventual national champion Rice all they could handle before falling to the Owls, 3-2, in 10 innings. Ole Miss eliminated the Cowboys from the 64-team field the following day.
Prior to assuming the head coaching duties at McNeese State, Butler served as the hitting instructor and outfielders coach during his first stint with the Crimson Tide from 1995-2000. He helped guide Alabama to six NCAA Regional appearances as well as three trips to the College World Series in 1996, 1997 and 1999. The Tide advanced to the SEC Tournament in all six of those seasons, claiming the SEC Tournament title in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999.
Butler also earned his reputation as one of the country’s top recruiters during those first six years at Alabama. He helped the Crimson Tide land some of the nation’s top talent as Alabama recorded three-consecutive top 10 recruiting classes. The Tide’s 1999 freshman class was ranked as the fourth-best in the country and still ranks as the highest ranked class in school history.
Under Butler’s leadership, the Crimson Tide became one of the most feared offensive clubs in America. Alabama’s 1997 team led the NCAA in four offensive categories, including runs scored (679), total hits (860) and total bases (1,571) while finishing second in home runs (160). In addition, the Crimson Tide won the NCAA statistical championship for highest slugging percentage (.621), eclipsing the previous school record (.521 in 1983) by 100 points. The 1997 team also set a NCAA record with 13 home runs in a single game.
Butler returned to Alabama as an assistant baseball coach on June 26, 2003. He spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons on the Tide staff as the recruiting coordinator, hitting instructor and infield coach, while also coaching first base.
He continued to showcase his ability to sign some of the top recruiting classes in the country upon his return to the Alabama bench. Alabama’s 2005 freshman class was rated 10th in the fall of 2004 in Baseball America’s Dandy Dozen College recruiting classes.
Before joining Alabama for the first time, Butler served as an assistant coach at McNeese State in 1993 and 1994. He was an assistant coach at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas, in 1992, where he helped the Buccaneers advance to the NJCAA World Series.
Butler’s coaching career began as a student-assistant coach at McNeese State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in 1991.
Butler spent two summers coaching in the Alaska Baseball League. His first stint in Alaska was an assistant coaching job in 1991 with the Kenai Peninsula Oilers, helping them to the NBC World Series. He then coached for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in 1992.
Butler played his college ball at McNeese State and Oklahoma. A team captain for the Sooners in 1988, Butler still holds the OU single-season record for stolen bases with 46 steals in 1988, including 26 consecutive successful stolen base attempts. Butler was a third-team All-American and earned All-Big Eight Conference honors in 1988. Butler also played for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League.
Butler, 46, is married to the former Melissa Borrel. The couple has two daughters, Caitlyn and Kendyll.
The Wichita State Shockers have hired University of Arkansas associate head coach Todd Butler to be the new head baseball coach at WSU, according to a University of Arkansas official familiar with the situation.
There has been no formal announcement from Wichita State Athletic Director Eric Sexton, who fired Gene Stephenson after 36 years at the helm of the WSU program.
Butler has 18 years of coaching experience in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with the Razorbacks and Alabama. He was Arkansas' hitting instructor as well as outfield coach and recruiting coordinator.