Baseball fans in the area have been watching the departure of WSU's baseball coach, Gene Stephenson, with curiosity. Many have very definite opinions on what should, and should not, have happened. Things seemed to break down by age.
Older fans, those who've watched Stephenson for years, seemed to favor keeping him around or at least finding a nicer way to end his time at Wichita State. But the next generation, those out on the ball fields at Westurban Tuesday night, seem pretty united in their thought, Stephenson needed to go.
The fans came to watch baseball. They cheered on sons, grandsons, brothers. But the game in front of them wasn't the only thing the fans were talking about.
"I mean we have nice facilities," said fan Steve Gates. "Wichita's a great town for baseball and it's long overdue."
He approves of the fact that, after more than three decades, Gene Stephenson is leaving the Wichita State Shockers.
"Yeah, that's pretty crazy," said Creighton Sanders, a player on the Wichita Gray's Academy team. "But they're letting him go for a reason. Either he's too old to coach or he just wasn't getting the job done."
His teammate, Trace Maddux, agrees.
"I think it was time for a change," he said. "He's just been there for so long and the program's been on the downfall."
Even the players on the field were talking about it. Although many said the change didn't really affect them. They have their sights set on other schools. Some think maybe that's the problem.
"I think a lot of people in this town, they like that we have something to root for," said Nate McBroom, who plays for the Wichita Sluggers. "'Cause we don't have any pro teams or anything like that."
And success attracts attention.
"Actually, I like the basketball season," said Sanders, laughing. "That coach should stay there. He's a good coach. 'Cause they made it to the Final Four."
But many of those who were around at the height of Stephenson's success aren't ready to dismiss him, either.
"He's been here. He's given his whole life to this program. What can you say? I mean, he's given his all," said Mick Teschke, a fan. "Maybe people expect a little more success. But, hey, he's done a great job."
Opinion is just as mixed on how the university handled Stephenson's departure as it is on the departure itself. Some think the university simply did what it had to do to improve the program. Others say they think it all could have been handled more gracefully, sparing Stephenson's pride. Again, there was a distinct division of opinion along age lines.