Picture and story COURTESY of Charlotte49ers.com
Loren Hibbs, who has been with the Charlotte 49ers for 27 years, has retired from his position as head baseball coach, Director of Athletics Mike Hillannounced on Friday. Hibbs will move back to his alma mater, Wichita State, as Assistant A.D. for Baseball Operations and Player Development. He will rejoin one of his former players and former major leaguer Eric Wedge, who was recently named head coach of the Shockers.
"Loren Hibbs has given his heart and soul to this program," Hill said. "We are sad to see him go, but understand and respect his desire to return to his alma mater. As I told Loren, in many ways he is leaving home to return home. We owe him a debt of gratitude for all he has done for the Niners' baseball program, and we wish him and Lisa the very best."
Hibbs led the 49ers to the NCAA Tournament five times and posted 15 seasons of 30 or more wins in his 27-year career as head coach. His first postseason trip, which was also the 49ers first postseason trip, came in 1993 after Charlotte won the Metro Conference tournament title in his first season. Charlotte advanced to the NCAAs again in 1998 as an at-large team. In 2007, the 49ers set a school-record with 49 wins to capture the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles and earn a bid to the Columbia regional. The 49ers received NCAA berths as A-10 champions to the 2008 Raleigh regional and the 2011 Tempe Regional.
Hibbs was instrumental in the 49ers relationship with the Charlotte Knights that led the 49ers to play in the first collegiate game at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte in 2015. The 49ers have played nine games, there, over the last five years.
Hibbs has helped 68 players move on to the professional level during his time at Charlotte. Eight 49ers were drafted in the Top 10 rounds and seven players reached the major leagues. Hibbs coached eight players to all-American status with 134 players gaining all-conference honors.
Hibbs, who guided the 49ers to 20 conference tournament berths and seven regular season titles, earned his 800th win last season and wraps up his career at Charlotte as the all-time winningest coach with 819 career victories and a career record of 819-682-5.
"I am excited to head back to Wichita," Hibbs added. "I feel like I am going home. Wichita State is where I played and began my coaching career. It's part of my DNA. When Eric was hired and asked me to join his staff, I had to say yes. I feel honored and excited for the opportunity to help rebuild Shocker Baseball."
Hibbs played for Wichita State from 1982-1984 and made a trip to the College World Series in 1982. During that historic season, Hibbs scored 125 runs, which still stands as the NCAA Div. I record. He was an assistant coach for the Shockers for eight years, including their 1989 National Championship season, before moving to Charlotte. He was inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
A nationwide search for the fifth coach in program history will begin immediately.