Shane Dennis fired after 13 years with Shocker Baseball

Director of Baseball Operations Shane Dennis was terminated Monday. The firing came after dramatic turnover in the baseball program including the replacement of former head coach Gene Stephenson with Todd Butler. In a phone interview with The Sunflower, Dennis confirmed that he was been fired by Butler.

“When you’re running a program like he is, you have to expect some changes like that,” Dennis said.

Two weeks ago, Gene Stephenson was fired in addition to nearly all of the baseball program. Brent Kemnitz remains as pitching coach. Kemnitz has a long professional history with Dennis through Wichita State.

“It was certainly tough on Todd because he has such respect for Shane,” Kemnitz said.

Dennis said that Butler communicated that he would rather work with a broadcaster he knows better.

“I don’t think it was easy for him,” Dennis said. “He expressed his thanks to me for what I’ve done up until now, but he indicated it was a hard decision for him and I believe him.”

Dennis played baseball for the Shockers from 1991 to 1994 while majoring in broadcasting. After other local jobs in the broadcasting field, he landed again at WSU in 2001.

Because of the many recent staff changes, Dennis said he wasn’t blindsided by the termination.

“I knew it was a possibility. But you never want that day to come,” Dennis said. “I wanted to stay, but Coach Butler chose to move on. It was difficult for me.”

Dennis said that he isn’t bitter about the decision. He Tweeted twice Monday, saying that he now has “time on his hands.” He said he doesn’t know yet what his next career move is.

“This is new ground for me,” Dennis said. “I’ve got nothing to be bitter about. I just need to move on.”

While Dennis is uncertain of his own future, he said he’s confident that Butler has the baseball program “in great hands.”

“He’s a forward thinker,” Dennis said. “You can tell he’s looking to the future, and I’m sure he sees great things in store for Shocker Baseball.”

While Dennis said he’s sad to leave, he understands that his termination is “just business.”

“Instead of feeling bad about it, you have to consider all the people that think you did a good job,” Dennis said. “I try to keep my head up and move forward.”