Tom Riginos, Winthrop Eagles

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Tom Riginos is in his seventh season as head coach of the Winthrop Eagles and has guided the team to three consecutive winning seasons. Hired on August 4, 2010, he is only the third head coach in program history.

Prior to joining the Eagles, Riginos spent eight seasons on the Clemson baseball staff under head coach Jack Leggett. He spent his final three seasons with the Tigers as the associate head coach/recruiting coordinator, and was an assistant head coach from 2003-07. During his time as the recruiting coordinator at Clemson, Riginos brought in consecutive top-20 recruiting classes. The 2009 class was ranked ninth by Collegiate Baseball, while the 2010 recruiting class ranked 29th nationally by Baseball America.

“I just knew it was going to be the right fit,” said Riginos at his introductory press conference. “Rock Hill is a good area to bring up a family. With my family and my wife’s family and IMG_9606relatives being in Florida, staying in the Southeast was important to me. It’s about family, relationships and contacts, and this is the right fit. The overall program here at Winthrop, the facilities and the size of the school reminded me so much of where I got my start as a player and a coach at Stetson University. Those are my roots and Winthrop is so similar in so many ways.”

Before heading to Clemson, Riginos spent nine seasons (1994-02) with head coach Pete Dunn as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Stetson University. He recruited eight classes for the Hatters program that garnered national recognition. Riginos also recruited six All-Americans and 10 Freshman All-Americans during his time at Stetson. He coached four of the five top hitting teams in Hatter program history, which included the 2001 squad that posted a .324 team batting average and 78 home runs. The team also finished the season ranked 24th nationally in batting average, 12th in slugging percentage and 19th in homers per-game. Riginos tutored five All-Americans and five of the best hitters in Stetson history including Chris Westervelt, Kevin Nicholson, Frank Corr and Sammy Serrano.

He began his collegiate coaching career as the top assistant and graduate assistant coach for two seasons at Eastern Kentucky under head coach Jim Ward. Riginos was in charge of the hitters and outfielders for the Colonels, and helped coach the team to a second-place league finish during the 1992 season.

“I have been with three head coaches who have probably more than 3,200 wins,” said Riginos.”There are probably not too many assistant coaches that have been under coaches like that. That right there gives me the experience to build the Winthrop program. The one thing that I will promise is that our guys will play hard, they will be competitive and they will represent Winthrop University in a first-class manner. I can guarantee you that.”

As a player, Riginos was a four-year letter winner for the Hatters from 1987-90. He played under Dunn and helped Stetson to three NCAA Regionals and three conference titles. Riginos played in 225 career contests and hit .279, while finishing as one of the top base-stealers in program history with 61. He was also named team captain during the 1990 season.

Riginos earned his first career victory as a head coach in the Eagles’ 14-9 season-opening victory over the San Diego State Aztecs, who were coached by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).