Emotional Stephenson opts to return to WSU
Norman, Okla. ? Just hours after a news conference announcing he would be the new baseball coach at Oklahoma, Gene Stephenson decided late Monday to remain with the Wichita State program.
In a statement released on the WSU Web site, Stephenson cited “unresolvable” scholarship issues as the reason for his about-face.
“We are very appreciative for the opportunity to coach at the University of Oklahoma,” Stephenson said. “We have worked over the years at Wichita State in order to use our scholarships and to plan for the use of our future scholarships.
“As we assessed the Oklahoma baseball scholarship situation, we would be too limited in our ability to take the program in the direction that we think it should go.”
Tears filled Stephenson’s eyes, and he periodically stopped to compose himself when he was introduced as the new Sooners coach Monday morning.
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement: “As is the case with any incoming staff member, we disclosed issues we anticipated before the job was accepted. We believed in the decision to hire Gene and would have enjoyed the opportunity to work with him.
“This is unfortunate, but we’ll move forward to fill our position.”