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Monday, 03 February 2014 17:04

Hannon to Move to Advancement Role

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Theresa Yetmar, Baker University's director of athletics, announced today that long-time head baseball coach and Class of 2012 Baker Hall of Fame member Phil Hannon will resign his position from coaching at the end of the 2014 season. Hannon will remain a Baker employee, however, as the Assistant Director of Development, effective July 1, 2014.

"Phil has been an integral member of our department for 14 years," Yetmar said. "He brings a voracious energy and positive attitude to work every day. He inspires trust amongst our staff and coaches. We could not be more pleased that Phil will now be playing an active role in fundraising for our institution. He will be a natural fit in his new role due to the relationships he has built with university alumni and friends throughout his tenure at Baker. Phil is the quintessential alumnus who has been invested in the success of all aspects of our university."

Hannon said his new position feels like a strong fit. "It has come time for me to step up in another way to help the overall face of the university," Hannon said. "Through the past 14 years I have recruited some tremendous young men who have been committed to the program, their teammates, and this university. While it has been a pleasure to watch them develop as student-athletes, I am most proud of what they have accomplished in their lives after Baker."

"This advancement position gives me the opportunity to reconnect people to our special university," Hannon said. "Like most of my classmates, I consider my time as a Baker student some of the best days of my life. I look forward to helping as many students as I can find success here, which means raising funds for every facet of the undergraduate experience – from academic departments to athletic facilities to, most importantly, student scholarships. This is an appointment that I am very excited about."

"When Phil first told me he was ready to retire from coaching, my first thought was that we could not lose him at Baker. I am so pleased, he agreed to stay on to help in the Advancement office," said President Pat Long.

Hannon will report to Patrick Mikesic, senior director for University Advancement.

"I am delighted Phil will remain a part of the Baker community," Mikesic said. "His legacy here at Baker goes far beyond athletics. From his philanthropic efforts to his tireless work with fans and alumni to his impact with his players, Phil continues to make an indelible mark of excellence on the University. I am thrilled that Phil will be joining the University Advancement team and look forward to him making a similar impact with our entire student body, alumni, donors and friends. Phil embodies the spirit of Baker alumni everywhere."

Hannon came to Baldwin City in the fall of 1982 to play football for the Wildcats. He was then asked to play baseball that spring for head coach Keith Hackett. He lettered four years in both sports, shining as a wide receiver for coach Charlie Richard's football team and as an outfielder for Hackett and Dan Harris.

In football, Hannon helped lead the Wildcats to the NAIA Playoffs in 1983, 1984, and a Sunflower Bowl victory in 1985. In baseball, Hannon accumulated a career .333 batting average. During his senior season he led the Wildcats with a .363 average, 41 hits, 27 runs scored, and 14 doubles in 113 at bats. Hannon also was perfect in stolen base attempts, 14-for-14, en route to being named All-Conference and the team's MVP.

Hannon signed a contract to play professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs' organization after graduating from Baker. He started in centerfield for the New York Pennsylvania League Champion Geneva Cubs in 1987, and the next year led the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League with 136 hits, 139 games played and 319 outfield put-outs.

His defensive prowess and understanding of the game earned the respect of former major league legend and coach, Jimmy Piersall. Hannon was hired to coach and teach young outfield prospects in the Cubs' organization.

Hannon enhanced his coaching skills and became a field manager for a total of three years in the minors before returning to Baker in 1999. Hannon has produced All-Conference players, including one Major League Baseball pitcher, and numerous All-Academic scholar athletes. His 2009 team received the NAIA-Buffalo Funds team Champions of Character award.

He is married to Charlene Potter Hannon, Baker class of 1985 and third-generation Wildcat.

"I never knew how deep orange would run in our family," he said. "On Charlene's side of the family our children are now fourth generation. Charlene's grandparents and parents are all Baker alums with a host of extended family as well."

The Hannons have four children, Andrew (Class of '09), Aaron ('11), Annie ('11) and Asher ('16).
A national search for Baker's baseball coach will begin in April.

"Phil has built a program that is respected within the HAAC and represented Baker in a first-class manner at all times," said Yetmar. "With Phil's involvement in our search process I am certain we will find the right person to move our program forward."

The Wildcat baseball team will open up its 2014 season on Saturday, Feb. 15 in a doubleheader at Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla., and will have its home opener on Tuesday, Feb. 25 against Sterling College.

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