Todd Butler is beginning his second season as the head coach at Wichita State. He came to the Shockers after spending the previous eight seasons as the hitting instructor, outfield coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas. Butler spent 16 seasons as an assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference under legendary Alabama coach Jim Wells and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. He also spent three years as the head coach at McNeese State from 2001-03. He is known around the country for his ability to attract the best talent and develop strong hitters. During Butler’s 22-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 five times in his career. In addition, Butler has coached 21 All-Americans, 138 players drafted in the MLB Draft and 20 Major League players.
Mike Steele is beginning his first season as pitching coach at Wichita State after the native of Midland, Michigan serving as the pitching coach at Long Beach State for the past two seasons.
In 2016, Steele helped guide the Dirtbags to a NCAA Regional. His pitching staff compiled a 3.17 team ERA and was led by second team All-American and Big West Pitcher of the Year Darren McCaughan who went 10-1 with a 2.03 ERA.
Three of Steele’s pitchers were drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft including first team all-Big West selection Austin McGeorge (7th round), Chris Mathewson (19th round) and Lucas Jacobsen (27th round).
During his first year in Long Beach, Steele guided Chris Mathewson to Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Freshman All-America honors. The righty finished with a 1.94 ERA and held opposing batters to just a .184 batting average. On March 1, Mathewson and Darren McCaughan combined to throw the first no-hitter in Dirtbags history. The staff finished with a 3.27 ERA.
Before LBSU, Steele spent the previous seven years in various roles within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. During the 2014 season he worked as an area scout for the Pirates and signed first rounder Cole Tucker with the 24th pick, but spent the previous six seasons as a pitching coach in the minor leagues.
Prior to his time within the Pirates organization, Steele spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons at Michigan State as the Spartans' pitching coach. His collegiate coaching experience immediately followed his professional career. He spent six years in the minors as a relief pitcher after being drafted in the 29th round of the 2000 draft by the Detroit Tigers.
He was a three-time All-Star in the minor leagues before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2002 season. He racked up 23 saves with a 1.93 ERA between Single-A and High-A affiliates in 2001. After his surgery, Steele was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the Rule 5 draft and spent three years in their farm system and retired after the 2005 season.
Brian Walker is beginning his second season as an assistant coach for Wichita State. During his first season in 2014, Walker helped develop Shocker first baseman Casey Gillaspie into one of the top hitters in the nation as Gillaspie was a consensus first team All-American. Gillaspie was the 20th overall pick to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2014 MLB Draft after hitting .389 with 82 hits, 15 doubles, 15 home runs, 50 RBI and 58 walks. Walker also helped develop catcher Tyler Baker and third baseman Chase Simpson. Baker was a 15th round draft choice by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Simpson was a 14th round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Baker finished the season with a .989 fielding percentage and threw out 22 of 45 base stealers in 2014. Simpson hit .258 with 14 doubles, six home runs and 41 RBI.
Scott Gurss is beginning his second season as Director of Baseball Operations at Wichita State. Gurss was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Neosho County Community College in 2013. Gurss also spent two seasons with current Wichita State head coach Todd Butler at Arkansas. At WSU, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations off the field, which include team travel, being an on campus recruiting official, and coordinating all official and unofficial visits. Gurss is also in charge of all camps put on at Wichita State. Before joining the Panthers, Gurss spent two years as the Volunteer Assistant baseball coach at the University of Arkansas and four summers as the head assistant coach and hitting coach for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2013 with Neosho, he helped the Panthers to the JUCO World Series.