Archive for Wednesday, May 22, 2002

KU baseball opening interests aide Kilmer

May 22, 2002

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A day after Bobby Randall resigned as Kansas University's baseball coach, names of possible successors continued to surface.

One man definitely interested is Wilson Kilmer, KU's pitching coach.

"I love the university and the community," said Kilmer, who has spent 15 years at Kansas. "The baseball program, obviously, has been a big part of my life. I've invested a lot in it, and I think I have a lot to offer as a head coach."

Kilmer, a former Emporia State player and assistant coach, was named pitching coach in the fall of 1987 when Dave Bingham was hired as head coach and stayed when Randall replaced Bingham in September 1995.

"I've been here through tough times and I've been here through the best seasons in Kansas history," Kilmer said. "I feel like I have an understanding of the Big 12 Conference and what it takes to win at this level, and I think I have the ability to do that."

Although he hasn't talked to athletic director Al Bohl about the opening, Kilmer said he had expressed his interest to associate athletics director Richard Konzem as well as to Randall.

"Basically, he wished me good luck and said if there was anything he could do he would do it," Kilmer said of his former boss, "and I appreciated that."

Kilmer was head coach at Dodge City Community College in 1985 and at Hutchinson Community College from 1986 to 1987 before joining the Jayhawks.

"Whether it's a winning program or not, my plan is to win now," Kilmer said. "That's what I tried to do in each of those situations. My goal is to play for championships. I want to set my goals high and get a game plan to achieve those things. As a head coach, I wasn't around long enough to realize those things, but I tried to set in motion a plan to get to those goals in a timely manner."

During Kilmer's tenure, more than a dozen KU pitchers have signed professional contracts.

Another candidate is UNC-Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs, runner-up when Randall was named coach in 1995.

Hibbs, who said he had talked to some KU alumni about the vacancy but had yet to speak to anyone in the administration, said he was sorry to see Randall leave.

"I think Bobby is a good guy," he said, "and I'm sorry to see that he's not going to be coaching there anymore."

With the job available again, Hibbs said he was still interested and expected just as much competition.

"Would I be interested?" he said. "Shoot, yeah, I'd be interested. I'm sure there will be a lot of quality people. It's going to be a real good job for somebody."

Hibbs, now in his 10th year at UNC-Charlotte, is the school's all-time winningest baseball coach. A native of Wellington, Hibbs was an outfielder at both KU and Wichita State.

"My family still lives back in Kansas," he said. "We've recruited a lot of guys from Kansas and we've had a lot of quality players from out there."

Another possibility is Texas Rangers bullpen coach Jamie Quirk, a former Royals player and coach.

Hiring a former professional player isn't without precedent. Marty Pattin, a former major league player, was the Jayhawks' head coach from 1982-1987. Randall also played in the big leagues with Minnesota.

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