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SLATE: It’s time for Kansas State to replace Brad Hill

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The program is a freeway pileup.

Will Pete Hughes be making the pitching changes next season?
Nobody’s happy about this.
@PurpleKansas

With the NFL Draft in the rear-view, we slide into the slowest part of the K-State news calendar. It’s so slow this fine Monday morning that there are only three items with which we have to deal, and only one of those is news.

That news? Oh, just another terrible loss in a season full of terrible losses for the K-State baseball team. The Wildcats (18-26, 3-15) struck first yesterday, but Baylor (26-17, 9-9) immediately responded and then a three-run sixth sealed K-State’s fate.

Perhaps emblematic of the malaise was Hill’s reaction to the three-run homer by Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin: “You’re sitting right there with some hope and that three-run homer is a dagger.” Of course, K-State was already down a run when that happened. If “hope” is the relief that you’re not going to get blown out, then we’ve got a larger problem than even the record reflects.

It’s one thing to lose a lot of games close. If that were the case, perhaps a more moderate approach might be reasonable. But facts are facts, and there are some glaring details which can’t be ignored. K-State has lost five Big 12 games — a third of their conference losses — by double digits this season. Their overall three-game results in four of six series have been humiliating; they were outscored 56-16 by Texas Tech, 42-8 by Baylor, 25-12 by Oklahoma State, and 22-4 by TCU.

With six games remaining, the Wildcats are now two games back of Kansas in a battle for last place in the conference. (Both teams have three wins, but the Jayhawks have played one fewer series and have lost a Big 12 game to weather.) Because Kansas is nearly as inept, the Wildcats can’t really be eliminated from the Big 12 tournament until the season-ending series with the Jayhawks... but by the time May 11 rolls around they could very well be in a position where nothing but a sweep will save them.

The problem isn’t a bad season. The problem is the program trajectory. In 2013, K-State advanced to what’s basically the equivalent of the Elite Eight, losing a heartbreaking Super Regional to Oregon State. Since then the program has been mired in worse-than-mediocrity, and in the middle of it all there was a player revolt of sorts. Brad Hill was afforded the chance to right the ship following that tumultuous 2015 season. It hasn’t happened.

Hill is, without argument, the best baseball coach Kansas State has ever employed. His place in the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame is unquestioned and deserved. But unlike some other noteworthy situations in Manhattan where saying “bad performance” by a legendary coach has merely been the same as saying “playing .500 ball”, in this case the baseball team is being spanked and humiliated on a weekly basis. It’s time for a change.

Meanwhile:

In this morning’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire writes about D.J. Reed reacting to going home in the wake of the Bakersfield native’s selection by San Francisco 49ers.

Finally, for your amusement and catcalls, Mr. John Currie.