Gregg Ritchie hired as baseball team’s head coach

Gregg Ritchie is officially the next head coach of the baseball team, confirming last week’s reports of his hire.

The news comes after Ritchie denied his interest in the post over the summer. He will take over for former head coach Steve Mrowka, who was fired at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

The delay in announcing the Colonials’ new head coach, though Tom Sheridan was announced as an associate head coach, gave rise to speculation that the new hire would be connected to a Major League Baseball program. Ritchie, a University alumnus, most recently worked as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Coming back to George Washington brings my career full circle as, in many ways, this is where it all started for me,” Ritchie said in a University release. “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.”

The 2012 season was Ritchie’s seventh with the Pirates, who became the program’s hitting coach in 2010 after working with its minor league affiliates for five years. He saw his hitters finish fourth in the National League in home runs this season, including a league-best 103 homers on the road.

Ritchie was heavily involved in coaching the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones, the three of whome became the first trio Pirates to hit over 25 home runs in a season since the 1966 season.

“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,” athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release. “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.”

Ritchie, who competed as an outfielder and a pitcher for the Colonials, batted.492 during the regular season of his senior year, which was second-highest in the nation, and earned 6-3 record on the mound with a 1.91 ERA. A member of GW’s All-Century team, Ritchie was a three-time All-Atlantic 10 outfielder, was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year in 1986, and earned All-America third team honors from the National Baseball Coaches Association after his senior campaign.

He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the eighth round of the 1986 draft and played for seven years in their system.

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