Pittsburg State University head baseball coach Steve Bever announced today (Jan. 13) that he will retire from his position at the University following the 2012 season.
Bever, 65, has been the architect of the Pitt State baseball program since the school restarted the sport on campus prior to the 1991 season. He played baseball for the Gorillas from 1966-69 during the initial era of the program that spanned from 1962-72.
Athletic director Jim Johnson indicated the school will not immediately launch a national search for Bever’s successor, but Pitt State will be prepared to begin the search as the spring season winds down.
“The focus needs to be on our baseball team having a great 2012 season,” Johnson said. “Coach Bever has high expectations for this season, and we certainly aren’t interested in creating any distractions that will take away from those goals. That said, we will advance a national search at the appropriate time to insure we get the best possible candidates for the job.”
Steve Bever Coaching Biography
Steve Bever enters his 22nd season as head coach of the Pittsburg State University baseball program.
Starting literally from scratch in 1991, Bever has hand crafted the Gorilla baseball program into one of the most successful programs in the South Central Region of the NCAA Division II ranks.
Bever’s formula for success has been an impressive one. He resurrected a defunct program in 1991, weathered the tough times early on in building the program from the ground up, then led the program’s emergence onto the national scene with four NCAA Division II Regional appearances in a six-year span (1997, 1998, 1999, 2002).
He enters the 2012 campaign with a 545-501 (.521) career record.
The early signs that Pitt State would make its mark in Division II baseball came when the Gorillas posted a 30-win season in 1994 – just four years into the entire process. Pitt State narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA-II Regionals that year.
After a pair of .500 seasons followed, Bever engineered PSU’s breakthrough season in 1997. The Gorillas rolled to a school-record 39 wins that year and earned the school’s first trip to NCAA-II post season play. The Gorillas advanced all the way to the Central Regional finals before being upended a game away from reaching the Division II World Series.
The Gorillas returned to the NCAA-II Central Regional each of the next two years, enjoying 36-win seasons both times. In 1999, PSU captured its first MIAA title and the Gorillas again came a game away from reaching the Division II World Series.
In 2002, Pitt State matched its school record 39-win total and returned to the NCAA-II Central Regional for a fourth time in a 39-19 campaign.
Since 1994, Pittsburg State has averaged 29 victories per season.
During his tenure, Bever has coached seven NCAA Division II All-Americans and 25 first-team All-MIAA performers. Five former players have gone on to compete in the professional baseball ranks, while numerous other former players have gone on to successful high school and college coaching careers including current PSU assistant coach Daniel Esposito. Additionally, Bever has coached 10 players who have earned Academic All-America honors.
In addition to his coaching duties, for many years, Bever also served as an Assistant Athletic Director, managing all home football and basketball events. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Bever will return to his role as an Assistant Athletic Director for a period of time. His duties during this time will include fundraising for future facility upgrades for the Gene Bicknell Sports Complex and the coordination of a program to initiate formal outreach to all of the former baseball lettermen that played for Bever throughout his coaching career as well as those who played from 1962-72.
Steve and his wife, Johna, have two adult children: Dawn and Gabe. Dawn and her husband, Greg, live in Wichita. They have two sons, Alex, 11, and Isaac, 8. Gabe and his wife, Amy, reside in Manhattan, New York. Steve and Johna reside in rural Farlington, Kan.