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SE Louisiana names Matt Riser as Head Coach

MattRiserHAMMOND, La. – Following a national search, Southeastern Louisiana University has named Matt Riser as head baseball coach, Director of Athletics Jay Artigues announced Tuesday (Jan. 21). The appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

At age 30, Riser becomes the university’s 16th head baseball coach and one of the youngest at the NCAA Division I level. He has served as head baseball coach on an interim basis since Artigues relinquished the duties to take over the AD job in June.

“I’m really excited to see Matt take over at the helm of the baseball program,” Artigues said. “It’s something special to my heart, spending eight years to take the program to the level it’s at now. It was important to hire somebody who could not only take the baton and keep it at that level, but take it to the next level. Eight years ago, our program was at the bottom of the Southland Conference, and now we’re knocking on the door every year. I think Matt is the guy who can take us to the next level.

“I was fortunate enough to sign Matt as a player his freshman year and see him get his first chance to play college baseball. I gave him his first opportunity as an assistant coach at the collegiate level and now, to be able to watch him take over as a head coach, he’s definitely one of the top young coaches in the country. I’m excited to see his career take off.”

Joining the staff in 2008 as a volunteer assistant coach under Artigues, Riser was promoted to a full-time assistant’s position following that season. He served as the Lions’ primary hitting coach while working extensively with Southeastern’s outfielders. Riser also served as third-base coach during games, and the program’s recruiting coordinator, among other duties over the course of the past six seasons. Matt Riser

“It’s a dream come true, especially being this close to home,” Riser said. “The ultimate goal is to have your own program, but it’s so much more than an individual accomplishment.

“I couldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for coach Artigues and everything he’s done for me as far as a player and giving me my first job. I’m very thankful to him. I’m also very thankful for the players. Those guys go out and bust their tails every single day. Those are the guys who have to do it. They’ve got to throw the strikes, make the plays and get the big hits. If they didn’t do it, I wouldn’t have this opportunity.”

Under Riser’s guidance, the Lions produced the 2012 Southland Conference Player, and Hitter, of the Year Brock Hebert (.374, 58 runs, 21 doubles, 36 stolen bases). Senior Jonathan Pace hit .350, giving the Lions two of the top six hitters in the conference. The pair joined NCBWA National Stopper of the Year Stefan Lopez to give Southeastern three first-team All-Conference players.

During the record-breaking 2010 season, which produced five All-Conference players, Riser helped guide the Lions to the top of five offensive categories in the Southland. He coached Southeastern’s career-hits leader Cass Hargis and previous record holder Ty Summerlin, who was drafted in the 30th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates following his senior campaign.

Overall, Riser has mentored seven Major League draftees and eight All-Americans, including five Freshmen All-Americans and the program’s first Capital One Academic All-American.

A native of Picayune, Miss., Riser earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Tulane University in 2007. As a junior, he played a vital role in helping Tulane reach the 2005 College World Series. During his senior season he produced three home runs, 37 RBI and 16 doubles, helping Tulane to an NCAA Regional Final Appearance.

Prior to his time in New Orleans, Riser played under Artigues at Pearl River Community College, where he earned All-Region XXII honors and Region XXII Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore, helping PRCC to the state title. He batted .376 as a sophomore and .347 as a freshman, while compiling 110 hits, 30 doubles and 109 runs scored in his two-year junior college career.

Riser and his wife Jeanette reside in Hammond.

What They’re Saying About Coach Matt Riser

Rick Jones, Head Baseball Coach at Tulane University
“This is so well deserved. Matty was on our 2005 College World Series team, and he captained our regional finalist team in 2006. He was a consummate team player and he has been really committed to getting into the coaching profession. The fact that he has moved so quickly to the top is really not a surprise to me. I’m really excited for him. I know he is going to be a shining star in our business for a very long time.”

Mark Kingston, Head Baseball Coach at Illinois State University
“We recruited Matt to Tulane because of his toughness, smarts, and obvious love for the game. I am sure that those are the same reasons Matt has been named head coach at Southeastern. Matt has paid his dues, earned everything and is well prepared for this leadership position. His student athletes will appreciate his intensity, but understand that he wants what is best for them and the program. As his former coach, I am glad that this is the type of person our industry is rewarding. Matt will have great success, and do it with a no nonsense approach. Congrats to Jay Artigues, and Southeastern on this great decision.”

Justin Hill, Head Baseball Coach at McNeese State University
“Southeastern is very fortunate to have Matt Riser as their next head coach. He has been instrumental in building that program to where it is now. He is a great leader with a unique combination of intensity and intelligence that will serve him well as a head coach. I have had the privilege to coach with some of college baseball’s top coaches, and Matt is one of the best I’ve ever worked with.”

Mark Calvi, Head Baseball Coach at the University of South Alabama
Matt Riser was one of the best up and coming assistant coaches in the country. His work ethic is off the chart and he has done everything the right way. It’s no surprise to me that he was promoted to head coach so quickly when Coach Artigues took the position of Athletic Director. Matt will be a fantastic head coach. His players seem to love and respect him because they know how much he cares about them as people and players. I wish Matt and his staff nothing but the best.

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