SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Spring Arbor University head baseball coach Sam Riggleman will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame on Jan. 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Riggleman will be honored alongside Bob Babb of John Hopkins University, Augie Garrido of the University of Texas and Ray Tanner from the University of South Carolina during the ABCA/Diamond Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet at the annual convention.
“The ABCA recognition of Coach Riggleman is fantastic, but not unexpected,” said Spring Arbor University President Brent Ellis. “Sam’s career is stellar with few coaches even in the same vicinity of his accomplishments.”
“Beyond his baseball expertise, Sam’s investment in the faith and character of student-athletes is inspiring and essential for other coaches to emulate,” added Ellis. “I am thankful for the commitment to excellence Coach Sam Riggleman has demonstrated here at Spring Arbor University and at the previous institutions where he has served. God has blessed Spring Arbor with a true servant leader. Congratulations Sam, on your induction in to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.”
Riggleman, a two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Coach of the Year, will join in the Hall of Fame his former coach and mentor, legendary SAU skipper Hank Burbridge, who was enshrined in 2003. Riggleman has also been selected for membership into the hall of fames of Spring Arbor Athletics in 1998, the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) in 2007 and the NAIA in 2009.
In 39 seasons of collegiate coaching, with stops at John Wesley College, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Southern Illinois University, Bethel College, Dallas Baptist University and SAU, Riggleman has established himself as one of the premier coaches at any level. The long-time mentor has accumulated a record of 1,004-639-2 (.610), becoming just the 19th coach in NAIA history to surpass 1,000 career wins.
Riggleman, about to enter his 12th season at the helm of the Cougars, took the reins of an established, well-respected program in 2005, and has continued to add to its already strong tradition. He has guided SAU to a 358-190 (.653) record with three regular season conference championships, two conference tournament titles and five NAIA national tournament appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2007.
That 2007 campaign marked the beginning a historic three-year run for the program as Riggleman directed the team to an astounding 48-5 record – including an unprecedented 36-game winning streak – capturing the conference, regional and super regional titles before advancing to the championship game of the NAIA World Series. The team followed it up with another impressive season in 2008, compiling a 40-9 overall mark, repeating as conference, regional and super regional champions to earn its way back to the World Series, but would ultimately fall in the semifinals. In 2009, Riggleman’s Cougars qualified for the national tournament for a third straight year making an appearance in the NAIA Opening Round.
After missing out on the postseason for four years, the Cougars have returned to the national stage in each of the last two seasons after capturing back-to-back Crossroads League Tournament championships.
Prior to Spring Arbor, Riggleman led Dallas Baptist to two NAIA World Series appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2000. He made multiples trips to the NCCAA national tournament while directing the program at Bethel, and made one appearance in the NCAA tournament with Southern Illinois.
Riggleman, who also served as the Athletic Director at SAU from 2004-2012, has coached and taught baseball at the international level as well. He was an instructor for the United States National Team that traveled to Cuba in 1991, and served as the head coach for a 2001 NAIA All-Star team that traveled to the Czech Republic.
Throughout his career, Riggleman has coached several professional players, including major leaguers Tim Belcher, who was selected first overall in the 1983 Major League Baseball Draft, Sean Bergman and Alan Levine.
Riggleman’s passion for coaching is equaled by his passion for developing young leaders. Serving as a Special Assistant to the President of Spring Arbor University, Riggleman developed the Montana Leadership Institute, an annual one-week retreat that focuses on athletic and spiritual leadership development in SAU student-athletes. He has been widely recognized for his leadership characteristics and was honored by the ABCA as the recipient of the Ethics in Coaching Award in 2011.
“Coach Riggleman has reached the pinnacle of his profession,” noted Spring Arbor Director of Athletics Ryan Cottingham. “He is highly revered across the country as one of the very best, and as someone who did it the right way. Sam is a man of deep faith and extraordinary integrity that has impacted countless lives for over 40 years.”
Induction to the ABCA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the organization. The ABCA was founded in 1945 and the Hall of Fame began in 1966.
Tickets to the ABCA Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet must be purchased in advance and will be available beginning Sept. 1.