He’s been on the job a little more than a month, but new Wichita State head baseball coach Todd Butler has already been hard at work on the recruiting trail.
Those efforts netted him the commitment of Manhattan High School’s Bret Fehr, who made it official last week after a whirlwind recruitment.
“The Wichita State coaches considered him one of the premier athletes in the state,” Manhattan baseball coach Don Hess said. “And they really came after him hard and see great things in his future.”
Fehr, gearing up for his senior year of high school, just finished the summer baseball season playing for the Rossville-based Kansas Crush select team. He was also a member of the Manhattan High team that made it to the first round of state in 2013.
The left-hander served as the leadoff hitter for the Indians all season and thrived in the role, using his speed to steal bases and put pressure on the defense, while still hitting for a high average with 10 extra-base hits. He was caught stealing once in 18 attempts for the Indians in 2013. He hit .385, with a .524 on-base percentage and a .662 slugging percentage.
Butler replaced Gene Stephenson, who was fired in early June after 36 seasons on the job and a national championship in 1989. Fehr, listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, had been in contact with the Shocker coaching staff since they were hired and made his commitment after a campus visit.
“I think he’d been down to a couple camps,” Hess said. “The staff itself is so new that I think it all started with a conversation that took place somewhere toward the end of June, and after that, they were able to get out and watch him play a couple times and Bret took his visit.
“He liked what he saw and what he heard and was impressed by the new coaches, so he was ready to move forward.”
In addition to baseball, Fehr also plays football for coach Joe Schartz and basketball for coach Tim Brooks at Manhattan High.
“These coaches really like him,” Hess said. “A big strong kid that can hit and run and throw. The whole package.”