After a precipitous fall from the pinnacle the past five years, the most successful coach in Kansas State baseball history is leaving the program he once rebuilt.
Brad Hill will step down at the end of the 2018 season, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor announced Tuesday.
Hill surpassed Mike Clark as K-State’s winningest coach on April 22, 2017. He owns a 15-year Wildcat record of 463-389-3 but has suffered through losing seasons in four of the past five seasons after leading the 2013 team to a Big 12 championship and the NCAA Super Regionals.
Heading into this weekend’s series against rival Kansas — the final home series of Hill’s career — the Wildcats are 18-29 overall and last in the Big 12 with a 3-18 mark.
“With the best interest of the program in mind, I have decided to step aside after 15 seasons,” Hill said in a university release. “It’s come time for the program to move in a new direction and regain the energy it once had, and with the new facility on the horizon, now is the perfect time. My family and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a special place and we now look forward to the next chapter in our lives.”
After inheriting a program in 2004 that had experienced only one winning season from 1998-2003, Hill led the Wildcats to winning campaigns in seven of his first eight seasons and saw his 2007 squad reach the Big 12 championship. His 2009 team won 43 games and reached the NCAA regionals, a first for K-State and the first of four regional berths in five seasons for the Wildcats.
Hill’s program reached its zenith in 2013 with a school-record 45 wins against only 19 losses. The Wildcats won their first conference championship since 1933 with a 16-8 Big 12 mark and made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals.
Since that historic season, the Wildcats are 124-144 in all games and a woeful 34-83 in league play. If they are unable to escape the Big 12 cellar this season, it will mark their third last-place finish in five seasons.
“Coach Hill has provided an unwavering commitment to our baseball program for 15 years and advanced it to an unprecedented level with our first-ever conference championship and multiple NCAA regional appearances,” Taylor said. “He has given so much to K-State, building our program to a championship level in a first-class manner with the utmost integrity. I admire and appreciate all he and his family have done for K-State and wish them nothing but the best. We look forward to honoring him the remainder of the season and finishing strong starting this weekend against the Jayhawks.”
Hill was honored as Big 12 coach of the year in 2009 and 2013 and was named ABCA Midwest coach of the year those same seasons. He produced 18 All-Americans, 55 All-Big 12 honorees and 58 players who were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
“K-State is a special place, and I look forward to seeing the program get back to where it needs to be under new leadership,” Hill said.
The Galva native came to K-State after a successful nine-year stint at Central Missouri State, which he led to the NCAA Division II national championship in 2003. He was 418-91 with the Mules.
Hill also amassed an 83-50 record in three seasons as head coach at Hutchinson Community College, giving him an overall record of 964-530-3.