DULUTH, Minn. (
.com) – The College of St. Scholastica announced on Monday that alum Kevin Ritsche will take over as Head Baseball Coach.
Ritsche comes over from Winston-Salem State University (N.C.) where he was the Head Baseball Coach from 2010 up until the end of the last season. The University dropped the baseball program at the conclusion of the 2019 season for financial reasons.
Ritsche, who had also been a professor at Winston-Salem State since 2005, was hired in 2010 to resurrect the WSSU baseball program after a 37-year hiatus. He did so quickly, recording 319 wins in nine seasons, including at least 30-wins all nine years. Ritsche's teams won six conference championships and made six NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. In 2017, WSSU finished runner-up in the NCAA Atlantic Regional. He was a five-time Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Coach of the Year.
Ritsche takes over for Corey Kemp, who announced his resignation at the end of the 2019 season to return to teaching.
"I want to thank Steve Lyons and the entire St. Scholastica search committee for their diligence through this transition to find the next head baseball coach of such a storied program," said Ritsche. "Baseball means so much to the CSS community and its alumni and I'm honored to be able to re-unite and lead them on so many different levels. CSS provides an unbeatable education, a classy environment surrounded with good people and the best small college baseball job in America. I'm not only excited to push the CSS baseball program to new heights, but to also work with top-notch coaches and administrators, student-athletes and the wonderful faculty and staff of CSS.
"I want to thank John Baggs for putting CSS baseball on the map and Corey Kemp and his staff for doing an outstanding job moving the program forward over the past 10 seasons. As an alumnus, I'm excited to share my experience with my alma mater and use it to create a positive impact on a program that I'm very passionate about."
The Superior, Wisconsin native played under the late John Baggs at St. Scholastica from 2001-04 and also played with former coach Kemp during the 2001 season. In 2004, Ritsche was named an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American and a First Team All-UMAC choice as a catcher.
He then spent the fall of 2004 on Coach Baggs' staff while earning his Master's Degree from St. Scholastica in Exercise Physiology. Ritsche would go on to earn his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2014.
"We are excited to have Kevin lead our baseball program going forward," said St. Scholastica Vice President for Student Affairs Steve Lyons. "With Kevin's past experience and subsequent success over the last nine years we are eager to see him continue our strong baseball tradition and culture here at St. Scholastica. We are happy to have Kevin back home."
Ritsche's teams at Winston-Salem State consistently boasted over 3.0 grade-point-averages and two of his teams earned the best GPA in the CIAA.
He coached 16 players that went on to play professionally, including a pair of Major League Baseball Draft Picks. He had 19 players earn All-Region accolades and three players named All-Americans.
"I look forward to working hands-on with our student-athletes and putting them in the very best position to perform and compete on the national level," said Ritsche. "A big emphasis will be on helping our student-athletes understand that there is no better investment to make than in themselves and The College of St. Scholastica. I want to make them aware of the mental and physical toughness required to compete at a high level, while educating and mentoring them to become the very best versions of themselves along the way."
The St. Scholastica baseball program has won 23 consecutive Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) regular season championships and has made 14 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, including 13 since 2005.