DURHAM, NC – After capturing his fourth division crown in the past five years, Wichita Wingnuts’ manager Kevin Hooper (left) is back in the playoffs and seeking his first American Association championship. But, before the postseason results are in, the young skipper can already lay claim to a noteworthy title. For the second time since being named Wingnuts manager in 2009, Hooper has been named the American Association Manager of the Year.
Behind Hooper’s direction, the Wingnuts toppled the Central Division and set a new American Association wins record by going 68-32 in the regular season. At the beginning of July, Wichita was hotter than any team in the league. Hooper’s boys rattled off 13 straight wins and put together another nine-game streak at the end of July heading into August.
Hooper last won the Manager of the Year award in his inaugural season, leading the Wingnuts to a North Division title. Wichita finished that season nine games ahead of the next-best club. That came just one year after Hooper led the American Association in batting average at .373 and was named the league’s All-Star shortstop as a player for the Wingnuts.
As a manager, Hooper has a career mark of 290-202 and 18 postseason victories after taking the first two games of the 2013 semifinals against Grand Prairie. He led the Wingnuts to the American Association Championship Series in 2012 and will try to lead his team past the AirHogs to return to that plateau this postseason.
Photo courtesy of the Wichita Wingnuts