After Hutchinson, Steve Eck to coach Kapaun boys basketball
A quarter-century after the end of the most dominant reign in league history, legendary Kansas basketball coach Steve Eck is returning to the City League.
Eck, 65, was announced on Tuesday as the new boys basketball coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel starting in the 2021-22 season. On Monday, Eck announced his plans to step down as men’s basketball coach at Hutchinson Community College following their upcoming run at the NJCAA Tournament.
“We could not be more excited about this hire,” Kapaun principal Chris Bloomer said in a statement. “Coach Eck’s success as a basketball coach, paired with his ability to develop outstanding young men, will undoubtedly raise the bar for the individuals at KMC with whom he has contact.”
In an interview with The Eagle on Monday, Eck said he had already bought a house in Wichita and was looking forward to being closer and spending more time with his family. At Kapaun, he will no longer have to deal with the nearly year-round recruiting cycle in junior college basketball.
While the move has long been rumored, the official announcement of Eck returning to the high school ranks, and the City League no less, was still stunning.
From 1986-96, Eck was at the helm of one of the most dominant dynasties in Kansas high school basketball history at Wichita South.
Under Eck, the Titans boys won nearly 94% of their games (227-15 record), reached the state tournament semifinals nine times and won the Class 6A championship a total of six times. South won the City League all 10 years, won a record 51 consecutive league games and won nearly 96% of its games (153-7 record). Despite only coaching 10 seasons, Eck still remains fifth on the all-time wins list for City League coaches.
Kapaun has been one of the better City League programs over the past decade, but has just one state championship (2012) since 1981.
Eck will try to lead the Crusaders back to a championship after a Hall of Fame stint as a junior college coach for the last 24 years. As the head coach at Butler County, Redlands, Cowley and Hutchinson, Eck is the only coach in NJCAA history to take four different schools to No. 1 in the national rankings.
He has a career NJCAA record of 648-128 and ranks third all-time in Jayhawk Conference coaching victories and fifth all-time in Region VI. He led Redlands to the 2001 NJCAA championship and Hutchinson to the 2017 NJCAA championship and was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year in the same year, while Eck was inducted into the NJCAA Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019.