Gilner to coach in Topeka
Former THS player, coach to oversee Washburn pitchers
Michael Gilner is trading in Chieftain red for Ichabod blue.
Gilner, an assistant baseball coach the last three years at Tonganoxie High, has been hired as Washburn University's new pitching coach. He also will be assigned other assistant coaching duties at the Topeka college, as well as recruiting.
"It was the right time," Gilner said. "I've had other similar offers, similar opportunities, but with the decisions being made here, I felt it was the right time to make this move to the next level."
Gilner was an assistant the last two years under his father, Andy Gilner. A longtime THS assistant before taking the head coaching post, Andy Gilner held the position until this year, when Tonganoxie administrators asked him to resign at the end of the spring season. He refused, but was replaced by former Seaman coach Phil Loomis.
Michael Gilner's first year on the THS baseball coaching staff was 2003 under coach Sean Randall, who resigned later that spring after one season on the job.
Gilner, who graduated from THS in 1999, was a catcher for the Chieftains, who made several state appearances in the 1990s.
"One of the reasons I took the job here in the first place, I wanted to help the program back to where it was when I was a player," Gilner said.
Tonganoxie had three wins combined in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, THS went 2-19 after nearly upsetting top-seeded Eudora in the Class 4A regionals. Last spring, the squad went 4-17 and again nearly upset top-seeded Eudora at regionals.
After graduating from THS, Gilner signed letters of intent to play college football and baseball at St. Mary in Leavenworth. After the football season, though, Gilner transferred to Coffeyville Community College, where he played for two seasons with the Red Ravens.
Gilner's final stop was at Kansas, where he participated as an invited walk-on in fall 2002 for the Jayhawks. During that season, Gilner injured his shoulder, which ended his collegiate career.
Along with coaching three years at THS in baseball, he also was an assistant THS boys basketball coach. And during the 2002-03 basketball season, he also coach seventh-grade boys basketball.
At Washburn, Gilner will coach under Steve Anson, who has a 647-548-3 record in 27 seasons in Topeka. Anson, who played baseball at Kansas State, won the Big 8 Conference baseball title in 1974. More recently, Anson was named to K-State's all-century team. He joined 20 other former Wildcat athletes.
"He's a baseball guy," Gilner said.
Although Gilner said he's eager to start coaching at Washburn, he added he'll miss coaching a younger group of players.
"I'll miss working with kids that age because it's more about teaching the game," Gilner said. "Whereas coaching at the next level it's more about refining."