Several hours after being announced as Oklahoma's new head baseball coach Monday morning and donning a Sooner jersey, Gene Stephenson had a change of heart.
Stephenson, who has spent the last 28 years in Wichita State before deciding to take the Oklahoma job on Sunday, announced Monday night his intentions to return to the Shockers.
"We're obviously disappointed in Gene's decision," said Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione in a statement released late Monday. "Every coaching job, especially in a time of transition, has obstacles. As is the case with any incoming staff member, we disclosed issues we anticipated before the job was accepted.
"We believed in the decision to hire Gene and would have enjoyed the opportunity to work with him. This is unfortunate, but we'll move forward to fill our position."
See below for Stephenson's statement, released late Monday night through the Wichita State Sports Information Department, on his decision to leave Oklahoma and return to Wichita.
"We are very appreciative for the opportunity to coach at the University of Oklahoma. However, some scholarship issues have arisen that are unresolvable to our satisfaction.
"We have worked over the years at Wichita State in order to use our scholarships and to plan for the use of our future scholarships.
"As we assessed the Oklahoma baseball scholarship situation, we would be too limited in our ability to take the program in the direction that we think it should go.
"OU has always been our dream job, and it is most unfortunate for all of us that this could not work. We dearly love the University of Oklahoma, and are very thankful to have been given the opportunity.
"Unfortunately, the scholarship issues have forced us to reconsider, and have made a decision to stay at Wichita State University."
At the press conference on Monday, Stephenson broke down every time he talked about Wichita State, even in private sessions with the media, prompting many at the press conference, including a number of athletic officials at OU, to wonder if his heart was really into leaving Wichita State.
Stephenson, who is citing scholarship issues as the main reason for his change of heart, learned that OU was over their scholarship limit for the upcoming year, and that is something that bothered him.
However, it is common practice in college baseball for schools to be over the limit at this point in the summer, because most coaches know there will be attrition within their program, and by the time school starts they will down to the official scholarship limit.
Stephenson was told about this situation last Friday, but it didn't keep him from accepting the job.
Of course, Stephenson's hiring at OU has been big news all over the country, and this is going to be a big shocker nationwide. What OU Athletic Director Joe Castigione will do now remains to be seen.
What also remains to be seen is if former interim Head Coach Sunny Golloway jumps back into the picture.
Breaking News: Stephenson staying at Wichita State
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