Steve Anson Born: January 30, 1954 (Princeton, IN)
Graduated: Mishawaka (IN), 1972; Kansas State University, 1976; M.E., 1978
Deceased: June 22, 2014 (Topeka, KS)
Coaching is a difficult profession. Many times job performance is based on the win-loss column which can result in short tenures for coaches at all levels of competition. Based on that metric, it is easy to see why long-time Washburn University baseball coach Steve Anson is being inducted to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. After all, Anson posted over 800 wins in his thirty-five years at the helm in Topeka. But, Anson’s legacy goes much deeper to the lives he touched during that time which help lead him to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame today.
An outstanding athlete at Mishawaka High School in Indiana, Anson was recruited to play baseball collegiately throughout the Midwest and chose to play baseball at Kansas State University in 1972. Over his four seasons with the Wildcats, Anson made his mark on the record book and set the foundation of leadership that would define the rest of his life.
Playing outfield and first base for the Wildcats, Anson established himself as one of the most decorated hitters to wear the purple and white. During his four year career in Manhattan, Anson led the team in batting average four times, runs batted in twice, runs scored once, total hits four times, doubles twice, triples four times, home runs once, total bases four times, and slugging percentage four times. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in career triples with 19.
Following his playing career, Anson transitioned to the coach’s box as an assistant at K-State while earning his Master’s degree. In 1978, Anson was named the head baseball coach at Wayne State College in Nebraska before being hired as the head baseball coach, and assistant basketball coach, at Washburn University in 1979.
During Anson’s first three seasons at the helm of the Ichabods, wins were tough to come by. But, by his fourth season, Anson turned the program around leading his team to a school record 26 wins in 1983. That season set off an unprecedented run for Washburn that saw Anson’s squad post winning seasons in sixteen of the next eighteen years.
During Anson’s thirty-five year career at Washburn, the Ichabods won 844 games and participated in post-season play twenty-one times. Anson coached three players to All-American honors, two players to Academic All-American honors, and 96 players to all-conference honors. Anson also saw two of his former players make it to the major leagues.
At the time of his passing in 2014, Anson ranked twenty-fifth all-time in Division II baseball coaching wins with a career record of 867-820-3 at Wayne State and Washburn combined. Anson’s 844 wins in a Washburn uniform also make him the winningest coach in school history.
Anson was named to the K-State baseball All-Century Team in 2000 and he has been inducted to the Washburn Athletics Hall of Fame, the Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, and the K-State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Although dearly missed by his family, former players, and the Washburn community, Anson’s legacy of leadership lives on and with his induction to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, he will continue to be a shining example of leadership and commitment for all future generations of Kansans.