FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
WASHINGTON – George Washington University Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero announced today that Gregg Ritchie has been hired as GW’s new head baseball coach. A George Washington alum (’86) and GW Athletic Hall of Fame member (’99), Ritchie returns to Washington from Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates where he served as the team’s hitting coach.
“GW’s baseball program has a storied tradition of winning, and in his time as a Colonial, Gregg was certainly a major part of our success,” said George Washington Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. “Since his graduation he has honed his skills as a tactician, strategist and teacher of the game, and we are extremely fortunate to be able to welcome him back to campus as our head baseball coach.”
“Coming back to George Washington brings my career full circle as in many ways this is where it all started for me,” said Coach Ritchie. “I met my wife here at GW, and we both made a lifetime of extraordinary memories going to school and competing in the heart of the nation’s capital. To have this opportunity to coach at my alma mater and play our home games in the premier facility in the conference at Barcroft Park is extremely special.”
Named the Pirates’ hitting coach on November 24, 2010, the 2012 season marked Ritchie’s seventh with the Pittsburgh organization, having also served as the minor league hitting coordinator for five years. Ritchie has been instrumental in the development of the Pirates’ homegrown two-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen, who in 2012 led the NL in hits (194), finished second in runs scored (107) and batting average (.327), placed third in on-base percentage (.400) and slugging percentage (.553), and also finished in the NL’s Top 15 in home runs (31, t8th), walks (70, 8th), RBIs (96, 11th) and triples (6, 15th). As a team, Coach Ritchie’s hitters ranked fourth in the National League in home runs this season, including an NL-high 103 homers on the road, as McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez (30 HR), Garrett Jones (27 HR) and Neil Walker (14 HR) all enjoyed career-best years under Ritchie’s tutelage. McCutchen, Alvarez and Jones became the first trio of Pirates to hit more than 25 home runs in a season since 1966 when Willie Stargell (33), Roberto Clemente (29) and Donn Clendenon (28) each clubbed 25+.
“The GW community is excited to welcome Gregg back to Foggy Bottom,” noted George Washington President Steven Knapp. “His experience as a professional coach and player will be a tremendous asset to our program.”
After starring locally in high school in North Stafford, Va., Ritchie’s Hall of Fame career at GW culminated in being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the eighth round of the 1986 June Draft. An outfielder and pitcher for the Colonials, Ritchie batted .492 during the regular season of his senior campaign, second-highest in the nation, while notching a 6-3 record on the mound with a 1.91 ERA. A member of GW’s All-Century team, in his career he was named an All-Atlantic 10 outfielder three times, was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year in 1986, and garnered All-America third team honors by the National Baseball Coaches Association as well after his senior season.
He later played seven years in the Giants system, including three at the Triple-A level at Phoenix, before concluding his playing career in 1995 in the Texas Rangers’ organization at AAA Oklahoma City. Ritchie was named to the Midwest League All-Star team in 1987 after posting a career-high .337 average and 41 stolen bases at Class-A Clinton, and led the California League with 118 runs scored while playing with San Jose in 1988.
“Gregg’s ability to teach the game was evident even when he was playing at GW,” identified former teammate, major leaguer and GW Athletic Hall of Famer John Flaherty, who served on a search committee to identify GW’s new baseball coach. “I’ve had the opportunity not only to play with him at GW, but to observe his career while we were both playing professionally and now to watch as his Pirates are one of the best young up-and-coming teams in all of Major League Baseball.”
Ritchie began his coaching career in the Chicago White Sox minor league system with Bristol in the Appalachian League in 1996, and later coached at Class-A Hickory (1998) and Class-A Winston-Salem (1999). He spent 10 years as a hitting coach in Chicago’s system, the majority of which was spent at AA Birmingham, where Ritchie helped propel the team to a franchise and Southern League record six consecutive playoff berths. He also represented the franchise at the Southern League All-Star Game in 2002 as his Barons went on to lead the circuit with a .269 batting average and 220 stolen bases. During the following campaign in 2003, Ritchie moved up to Triple-A Charlotte midseason, while Charlotte led the International League in home runs and slugging percentage (.432), and ranked second in batting (.281).
Ritchie operates his own baseball school, “The Starting Lineup,” in the winter months, instructing hundreds of students annually from elementary school through the pros. He also owns KaeLo Sports Inc., a company built around products that he invented and patented including “The Hitter’s Seat” and “The Pitch.”
Ritchie’s wife, formerly Kelly Siegel, is also an ’86 GW grad and was a member of the Colonials rowing team. Gregg and Kelly have four children; daughters Kaety (20), Riley (14) and Arizona (12), and son Logan (19).
Serving on Coach Ritchie’s staff will be Associate Head Coach Tom Sheridan, Assistant Coach Dave Lorber, fellow GW alum and Coordinator of Baseball Operations Bobby Lucas Jr. and Volunteer Assistant Coach Stephanos Stroop.