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Johnson County CC head baseball coach Kent Shelley earns ABCA Hall of Fame honor
 September 6, 2012

OVERLAND PARK, KS – Johnson County Community College head baseball coach Kent Shelley will receive his profession’s highest honor as he has been selected into the American Baseball Coaches Association Class of 2013 Hall of Fame, along with five others. Shelley is the first coach from the state of Kansas, at any level, to be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame.

Shelley, along with Bill Baker (Northern Kentucky), Dan Gallagher (Fordham), Woody Hunt (Cumberland), Ralph Rago (UC-Davis) and Joe Roberts (Armstrong Atlantic State), will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, during the ABCA/Diamond Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Ill.

“I am deeply humbled and grateful to receive such a tremendous honor,” Shelley said. “Being selected for induction into the ABCA Hall of Fame is the ultimate reward for all the people who have worked so hard to make our program what it is today. I totally understand that this honor is not about me, but it is all about our players, alumni, assistant coaches, administration, parents, fans and my family. These are the ones who have made tremendous sacrifices to insure that our players receive the best education on and off the field. I am extremely proud to have been selected to the ABCA Hall of Fame and I am looking forward to my induction in January.”

Shelley, who enters his 26th season as the Cavaliers skipper, is the winningest coach in JCCC history, and one of the all-time leaders in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference. Shelley has an impressive 759-476-1 mark (.614), but win number 599 might just be the most rewarding. That victory gave JCCC its first berth to the NJCAA JUCO World Series.

Included in his coaching career are two East Jayhawk Conference championships (2009 and 2011), four Eastern Sub-region titles (1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993), three Region VI championships (1990, 1993 and 2008) and one World Series appearance (2008). He has produced 15 teams that have surpassed 30 wins, and four of his five squads have topped the 40-win plateau.

Shelley’s players have also seen unbelievable success. He has coached eight NJCAA All-Americans, two preseason NJCAA All-Americans, one NJCAA World Series All-Tournament selection, five USA Junior College All-Stars, 20 All-Region VI performers, 106 All-East Jayhawk Conference recipients and 27 NJCAA Academic All-Americans, including a record seven in 2010. In 2008, Doug Otto was a unanimous selection as the conference MVP, the first in the program’s history. He also became the first player to be awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove award. Shelley also has had two players receive a Rawlings Big Stick Award for posting the top batting average in JCCC’s NJCAA District.

Under Shelley’s guidance, 31 players have been drafted or signed as free agents by Major League baseball since taking over the reigns in 1987. The most notable players being Travis Buckley, who became the first JCCC player put on a 40-man roster with the 1993 expansion Colorado Rockies; Kit Pellow, who became the first player to make it to the Major Leagues playing with the Kansas City Royals in 2002, and in 2004 was the opening day starter in left field Colorado Rockies, and Jeff Soptic, who was taken in the third round and signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2011, making him the highest draft pick in team history.

While developing professional talent is impressive, Shelley is quick to point out the number of former players who have continued their playing and education at four-year universities and college. A total of 233 student-athletes under his direction have transferred to four-year institutions, 196 at the NCAA Division I or II level.

Shelley is also highly regarded by his coaching peers and his success at JCCC has earned him national recognition. In the summer of 1994, Shelley served as head coach for Team USA, a select NJCAA team from the United States that played host to a select team from Japan. The five-game series was played in Grand Junction, Colo., which is also the host site of the NJCAA World Series. In 1990, Shelley served as an assistant coach on the first NJCAA team to participate in international competition. The USA All-Stars from the NJCAA competed in the Friendship Games in Las Tunas, Cuba. He also has been selected as head coach of the Kansas Region VI Eastern Division All-Stars three times. Shelley also has the distinction of earning the first Louisville Slugger/Region VI coach of the year honor, after his team captured the Region VI title in 1993.

But 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. 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.

In 2002 Shelley was selected to serve on the Executive Committee of the American Baseball Coaches Association, becoming just the second coach from the community college ranks to earn such an honor. He has continued to move up the ranks, and recently completed the role of president of the ABCA, becoming just the second junior college coach to serve as president. He will continue to serve on the ABCA Board of Directors for life. In 2007, Shelley was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

A solid background in baseball has helped set the stage for Shelley’s success at Johnson County Community College. He was a collegiate standout catcher at Pratt Community College and the University of Kansas. At Pratt, he was co-captain and most valuable player in 1980. At the University of Kansas, Shelley was elected co-captain in 1982. Following his senior year, he served as graduate assistant for the Jayhawks. Before taking the helm at JCCC, Shelley served one season at JCCC as assistant coach under Cavalier Hall of Famer Sonny Maynard.

Shelley and his wife, MargE, have two daughters: Mandi, 24, and Madison, 18.

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