Kansas Cannons hire Wichita State legend Phil Stephenson as new manager

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Phil Stephenson as the head coach of Dodge City Community College

The Kansas Cannons have made a surprising move by replacing Dusty Gray as manager. They have chosen Phil Stephenson, the Wichita State baseball legend as his replacement. 

Stephenson, the brother of legendary Shockers head coach Gene Stephenson takes over after Gray led the Cannons to a 27-11 record last season, including capturing the inaugural Summer ball showdown. 

Stephenson last coached at Dodge City Community College, where he was the head coach for 16 seasons, including helping the Conquistadors to the 2015 Central District tile and a trip to the NJCAA World Series. 

As a Wichita State Shocker, Stephenson was a three-time, first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection; a two-time first-team All-American at first base and the Baseball News College Player of the Year in 1982. 

When Stephenson's collegiate days were done, he held 13 NCAA records and still holds NCAA records for hits (418), runs (420), total bases (730),stolen bases (206) and walks (300).

He was drafted in the third round by the Oakland Athletics where he sepnt 14 years playing professional baseball. Four of those years were with the Chicago Cubs the San Diego Padres.

A native of Guthrie, Oklahoma, he is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame, the WSU Hall of Fame an the MVC Hall of Fame. 

In 2007, he was elected into the National Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame. He was also named one of the best three college baseball players in the 20th century by Collegiate Baseball and one of the top 10 college baseball players of all-time by Baseball America.

Stephenson is no stranger to coaching collegiate summer ball. He coached for the Alaska Goldpanners in 2019.

The Cannons will begin their season at the beginning of June in the Kansas Collegiate Baseball League. 

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.