Skip to main content

April 29, 2018

JCCC head coach Kent Shelley reaches sports career milestone

The countdown is over! Johnson County Community College baseball coach Kent Shelley picked up the 1,000th win of his coaching career with a 19-2 victory at Fort Scott Community College on Thursday, April 12. His career record now stands at 1001-584-1 over 31 seasons at the College.

Shelley is one of 10 active coaches in the NJCAA who have won 1,000 games in their career. He has won all of them as head coach of the JCCC Cavaliers.

“It truly has been a pleasure working for Johnson County Community College and the many great individuals and teams I was fortunate enough to coach,” Shelley said. “For me, it has never been about the wins, but the relationships with the kids and memories we have created. I get to hang out with these great young men and watch them play the game they love, and that is playing baseball. I am so proud of my kids and how they have gone on to be great husbands, fathers and leaders of their communities.”

In Shelley’s milestone victory, the Cavaliers pounded out 18 hits, including 3-run home runs from Malik Williams and Jake Karst and a solo shot from Chaz Burgess. Williams finished the day with a game-high 5 RBI. Right-hander Brad Kincaid got the win. He worked six innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with 8 strikeouts. Dylan Bierman pitched a scoreless seventh to close out the game.

Shelley spent one year as an assistant coach at JCCC in 1986 under the legendary Sonny Maynard, and then replaced him as head the following season. Now 31 seasons later, Shelley has maintained a level of success on the baseball diamond that may never be duplicated again at JCCC.

Shelley is the winningest coach in the program’s history and among the all-time leaders in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference and National Junior College Athletic Association. In his 31 years, he has produced eight teams that have surpassed 40 wins and 18 teams that surpassed at least 30 wins; his teams have topped 20 wins in 30 of his 31 campaigns.

Student-Athlete Success

In his 31-year career, Shelley has led four squads to NJCAA Region VI titles and two to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. Shelley has coached nine NJCAA All-Americans, two preseasons All-Americans, one World Series All-Tournament selection, six USA Junior College All-Stars, 28 All-Region VI performers and 157 All-East Jayhawk Conference performers. He has had two players receive a Rawlings Big Stick Award, and one earned a Rawlings Gold Gove honor.

Additionally, 42 of Shelley’s former players have been drafted or signed as free agents by Major League Baseball since he took over the reins in 1987.

While developing professional talent is impressive, Shelley also has a significant number of players who continued their playing careers at four-year universities and colleges. A total of 294 student-athletes under his direction have moved on, with 224 at NCAA Division I and Division II programs.

Off the field, Shelley’s players have been honored by the NJCAA for academic excellence 45 times. In Fall 2017, 78 percent of his roster earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

A Hall of Fame Coach

Shelley is also highly regarded by his coaching peers, and his success at JCCC has earned him national recognition. In May 2007, Shelley was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, joining 77 other community college coaching greats. He was just the second coach from Region VI and the Kansas Jayhawk Conference to earn this prestigious honor. In January 2013, Shelley earned college baseball’s highest coaching honor when he was inducted to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame. That same year, he also joined the JCCC Athletics Hall of Fame. In December 2015, Shelley was inducted into the Ban Johnson League Hall of Fame.

Executive Leader

Shelley’s influence on junior college baseball is much greater than the many successes his teams have enjoyed on the field. Shelley has been active on both the national and international levels of junior college baseball. In January 1997, at the American Baseball Coaches Association annual meeting, he was selected as president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association becoming just the second junior college coach to serve as president. As president, Shelley represented the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association on the ABCA Executive Committee. Before that appointment, Shelley had just concluded a three-year stint as vice president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association. In addition, he served on the International Baseball Committee for that organization. He has also represented the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association on the NCAA Division I baseball rules committee. He will continue to serve on the ABCA Board of Directors for life. The ABCA is the largest coaching organization with nearly 13,000 members around the world.

What his peers say

“Kent is a dear friend. The ABCA brought us together years ago and I will always be appreciative of the fact that MargE and Kent Shelley have become close friends because of this affiliation. When it comes to Kent and the milestone of 1,000 victories, it means one thing … there have been 100,000 personal victories that he has encountered with young people because of his insistence of teaching and relationship-building. Kent has served Johnson County and young people by using baseball as a platform to do many other things, and those many other things will not always be reflected by a scoreboard, but better yet, by the positive actions of young men that he has impacted.” - Tim Corbin, head baseball coach at Vanderbilt University and board member of the ABCA.

“A ‘big time’ congrats to Coach Shelley on his 1,000th win at Johnson County Community College. I have great respect for Kent and his program. He is one of the most professional coaches in the country. His players have always represented themselves, his program, and institution in a first-class manner, on the baseball field, in the classroom and community. My congrats to Kent on his milestone victory!!” – Ritch Price, head baseball coach at the University of Kansas