After orally committing this past summer, Bret Fehr made it official Monday.
The Manhattan High senior and three-sport athlete signed his official letter of intent to play baseball at Wichita State for new head coach Todd Butler next year.
Manhattan High baseball coach Don Hess determined that Fehr is the first Manhattan player since the program was created to go to Wichita to play baseball.
“Coach Hess said the only player to go down there was a guy back in the 80s, before they really established the Manhattan program,” Fehr said. “So that’s cool.”
Fehr said he plans to study business at Wichita State before branching off into a more specific degree program later on.
The senior also plays football in the fall and is now gearing up for basketball season, but is taking it easy after suffering through a partial tear in his posterior cruciate ligament that sidelined him for the last few games of the football season.
“After Christmas, I should be back and ready to go,” Fehr said. “I don’t want to rush anything — I want to make sure I do it right.”
Fehr committed in late July, but said he hasn’t had any second thoughts about where he wants to play in college.
“I think ever since I verbally committed, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve been keeping in touch, getting everything solidified with scholarship papers, everything like that.”
Fehr played as a member of the Manhattan Indian team that made it to the first-round of state in 2013. He also played over the summer baseball season for the Rossville-based Kansas Crush select team.
The left-hander served as the leadoff hitter for the Indians last spring and used 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.
He will join a Shocker program in a state of transition after making a change at head coach for the first time in more than 35 years.
Butler has big shoes to fill in replacing longtime coach Gene Stephenson, who was fired in June at the end of his 36th season on the job, a tenure that includes a national championship in 1989 as well as multiple regional, super regional and College World Series appearances.
Butler immediately took interest in Fehr after accepting the job, securing his commitment in about a month of recruiting. Butler came from Arkansas, where he served as both the hitting coach and the recruiting coordinator for the Razorbacks.