Kevin Hooper often hears from baseball fans around Wichita about their hopes for his career. So far, their plans haven't matched his.
Hooper signed a two-year contract to remain manager of the Wingnuts. In his three seasons as manager, Hooper has led the Wingnuts to the American Association playoffs twice. In 2010, they were eliminated from postseason contention on the final day of the season.
In the past, Hooper has turned down offers to manage in affiliated baseball to stay in Wichita with his wife, Lindsey and their two daughters, ages 6 and 3.
"I think that that opportunity, hopefully, is going to be there when I decide to do that," Hooper said. "I know a lot of people want to see me go that route, because they want to see me get to the major leagues as a manager or as a coach.
"I appreciate that. I appreciate those well-wishers. But that's not what it's about for me. Right now, it's about my family and what is the best situation for my family."
Hooper, who turned 35 this week, has been with the Wingnuts since their inaugural 2008 season, when he batted .373 playing shortstop.
He took over as manager the following season and led Wichita to a division title. The Wingnuts again won their division last season, but they have yet to win a playoff series.
The new contract will keep Hooper with the Wingnuts through the 2013 season. In the past, general manager Josh Robertson has said he would only let Hooper out of his contract for a managing position at the Double-A level or higher.
"It's going to take something special to get me out of here," Hooper said."... This is where I want to be right now. I want to bring a championship to this town."