KCKCC to Honor NJCAA Hall of Famer Steve Burleson Saturday

KCKCC to Honor NJCAA Hall of Famer Steve Burleson Saturday

The only two persons to have their baseball uniforms retired at Kansas City Kansas Community College will be honored at the Blue Devils' final two Jayhawk Conference Saturdays.

Recently retired coach Steve Burleson will throw out the first pitch when KCKCC hosts Highland this coming Saturday at 12:55 p.m. while the family of the late Dr. Michael Haen will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Blue Devils entertain Allen County April 16.

"We want to honor Coach Burleson on his induction into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Baseball Hall of Fame," said KCKCC head coach Matt Goldbeck. Burleson will be formally inducted at ceremonies during the 2016 NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., May 30-June 4.

The retired numbers of Burleson (No. 17) and the late Mr. Haen (No. 12) are emblazoned on the outfield wall of KCKCC's new baseball complex.

Burleson ranks No. 13 on the all-time list of NJCAA wins, compiling a 1,136-691 (.614) record in a 36-year career. Only the second coach in the Jayhawk East to win 1,000 games, Burleson's teams won seven Jayhawk Conference championships and three Region VI titles. Named Coach of the Year four times, Burleson also became the first active coach to be inducted into the KCKCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

            Haen was an assistant to Dr. David Klein when KCKCC started baseball and was named head coach after Klein stepped down following the 1978 season. However, he was never able to coach a game. A Kansas City Kansas reserve police officer, he was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer July 18, 1978. Haen was at the scene of an auto accident when a man broke out of a crowd and took Haen's gun. A gun fight ensued and Haen was caught in the middle and accidentally killed by a shot by a Wyandotte County deputy sheriff.

            A popular instructor at KCKCC where he taught in the Social Science Division and helped found the Law Enforcement program, the Kansas City Kansas Police Academy on the College campus bears the named Dr. Michael Haen Police Academy.

Haen's widow, Joanne Haen of KCK ; their three children, Pier, Micah and Nichole; and other family members are expected to be on hand for the April 16 first pitch.