After spending five years as the Midwest scouting coordinator for the Cleveland Indians, Steve Abney, who coached against Ritch Price in the California community college ranks, will begin his third season as the Kansas pitching coach.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have Coach Abney on our staff," said Price. "He is a very experienced coach with a tremendous background. Because he is established in the Midwest, he knows most of the coaches and baseball programs in this part of the country."
Abney spent one year as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Mississippi after serving as the head coach at Lassen (Susanville, Calif.) Community College from 1986-95. While at Lassen, he directed the Cougars to a 305-90 overall record and nine consecutive California Community College playoff appearances. His Lassen teams also won eight Golden Valley Conference championships.
Abney's relationship with Price dates back to when the two coached against each other while Abney was Lassen's skipper and Price was the head coach at DeAnza Community College. Abney also served as the pitching coach at Southwest Louisiana (Lafayette, La.) from 1984-86 and Butte (Oroville, Calif.) Community College from 1980-84.
No stranger to leading quality baseball programs, Abney also served as the manager for a pair of Alaskan League summer teams -- the Mat Su Miners and the Fairbanks Goldpanners in the early 1990's, where he coached many notable players such as current major leaguers Steve Trachsel and Jason Giambi.
"It's great to be back in the college atmosphere," said Abney. "I really enjoyed my time with the Cleveland Indians, but the opportunity to work with Coach Price and keep my family in Lawrence was too good to pass up."
Abney has been honored numerous times by the baseball coaching community. He was inducted into the California Community College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999 and was an eight-time winner of the Golden Valley Conference Coach of the Year award.
Abney spent three seasons as a player in the San Deigo Padres organization. His minor league career included stops in Walla Walla, Wash., Reno, Nev., Bakersfield, Calif., and Amarillo, Texas.
Abney and his wife Cheryl have three daughters, Lauren, Brooke and Olivia.