Rising to the top


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Matt Riser, baseball head coach, gives a motivational talk to the team. Coming off last season’s 37-22 record, Riser looks to maintain his success with the program this season.

Ranked among the top 10 coaches under the age of 40 in “Baseball America,” Matt Riser, baseball head coach, looks forward to a successful season in 2019.

Although he once aspired to have a career in medicine, Riser chose to pursue his passion.

“Coming out of college, I originally planned to pursue med school,” shared Riser. “I was fortunate enough that I had a year left of school as I exhausted my baseball eligibility. I had a year to figure it out, and I realized how much I missed the game being away from it for one year. I had the opportunity to coach a few high school teams, and I fell in love with it.”

Starting off as a volunteer for the program, Riser worked his way towards earning the head coaching position, seizing his current title when the opportunity presented itself.

“I was fortunate that coach Artigues had an opening here as a volunteer spot,” said Riser. “Every time another opportunity arised, I continued to move up the ladder to the point where I was elevated to head coach. I couldn’t be more thankful to coach Artigues because at the time, I was the youngest head coach in the country.”

Jay Artigues, director of athletics, explained why he chose Riser for the head coach position.

“I coached coach Riser,” said Artigues. “He played for me, and he was also my assistant coach. I got a good insight of him. I knew what kind of person he was besides what kind of coach. He’s a tremendous role model, very knowledgeable about the game and really does a great job relating to the student-athletes.”

During Riser’s tenure as head coach, including last season’s 37-22 record, he has continued to establish success within the program.

“I was an assistant here for six years with coach Artigues,” explained Riser. “We were fortunate to gain some momentum before I took over as head coach and just tried to build off the momentum. The foundation was laid, and with winning, we continued to get another caliber-level player. We never got away from what brought us here, and I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Riser shared the philosophy that he tells his team throughout the year.

“I feel whether you’re in baseball, whether you’re in a career, that you’re motivated in two ways,” said Riser. “You’re either motivated by pain, or you’re motivated by love. With our success and rising expectations, our guys have done a fantastic job of staying humbled.”

Nathan Pilutti, senior outfielder, discussed what coach Riser expects from the team both on and off the field.

“He’s good at getting the image into our head,” said Pilutti. “So, every day at practice, off practice, he lets us know what the goal is, and what we’re shooting for. He makes sure we know exactly what he wants as a squad and family. Our goal is to win championships. That’s why this program has success because we take pride on and off the field.”

With more than 43,000 fans in attendance at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field last season, Riser hopes to see that number continue to rise.

“Our fans’ support are imperative,” expressed Riser. “Our guys play at a different level when the crowds there are involved in the game. I think our administration has done a fantastic job of making our games a unique experience. I fully expect to break the record number of attendance again this year.”