Coaches Corner: Tom Riginos


riginost-head08.jpgCoaches Corner-Tom Riginos: Clemson Associate Head Coach Tom Riginos is in his seventh year as part of the Tiger program. Riginos made his mark as a player, then later as a coach at Stetson University before moving to Tigertown. He spent some time recently with Diamond Prospects to do a Q & A with us to give us a close-up look at him and his life as Clemson’s recruiting coordinator:

DP-How many years have you been in coaching? What got you into the business?

TR-This is my 18th year of coaching. My senior year of college I started to work baseball camps and throw BP during practice. I decided to go back to my high school and coach for a year. I loved it and that how it all started.

DP-What is the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach? 

TR-Developing relationships during the recruiting process and then seeing the players develop as players and young men. Maintaining the relationships after their playing days are over.

DP-What does the term "coach" mean to you?

TR-It means many things to me: Role model, leader, disciplinarian, teacher, a person that can help give direction not only on the field but also in life.

DP-What is something you wish everyone knew about your profession?

TR-It takes a lot of hard work and long hours to be successful.

DP-We all know there is very little money in getting started in coaching at the college level yet the time involved is mind-boggling, why did you do it?

TR-For the love of the game, I could not see myself behind a desk for 8 hours a day.

DP: How do you balance the time demands of coaching and your family?

TR-It is very difficult to do. I think you have to have balance in life. There are many coaches out there that don’t have balance and they lose their family. I think first you have to have a wife that understands the time it takes. I think as a coach you have to make sacrifices to make it work. I know for me it is as simple as not answering my phone from 7:00-8:30 pm. That is family time. After 8:30 I can make all my recruiting calls from my home office.

DP-When you hear the expression "old school baseball", what does that phrase mean to you? 

TR-Playing as hard as you can all the time.

DP-What is the definition of a "student-athlete"? 

TR-It a person that has their priorities set both in the classroom and on the field. He puts the same effort in both places.

DP-Relocation is synonymous with the coaching profession, tell us how your family dealt with the move to Clemson from the state of Florida:

TR-It was harder on the grandparents than my wife and me. Our twin girls were only 18 months old and both sets of grandparents were very close. We love living in Clemson and the change of seasons, but miss family.

DP-Describe the Omaha Experience to those who have never been there, much less participate in the College World Series:

TR-It is hard to put in words the experience of Omaha. It is the one place every college player and coach dreams of going. Best word UNBELIVABLE.

DP-Jack Leggett is a highly-respected college baseball coach, tell us a little bit about him:

TR-Coach Leggett is the best Head Coach in the business, with that being said, he probably an even better person. He really cares about you as a person. The day he offered me the job seven years ago, I will never forget that day. He offered me the job on a Saturday morning, by the end of that day he had called me five times just wanting to make sure my family and I were taken care of, what could he do to make the move easier. Right then I knew I would be working for a great person.

DP-What is your most memorable experience as a baseball coach?

TR-Being in the dugout when my son hit his first college home run for Clemson. Winning the 2006 Super Regional on Tiger Field and going to the CWS.  

DP-Make your case for why the ACC is the best conference in the country: 

TR-In the last 3 years, the ACC has had 2 to 3 teams in the CWS.

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball coach and why? 

TR-My Dad, from an early age we were always at the ballpark.

DP-Who are the best three players you have coached against? 

TR-Justin Verlander, Pat Burrell, Mark Teixeira

DP-What does it mean to be a good teammate and is that important?

TR-A player that is unselfish, he puts the team before himself. It is vital to have a successful team.

DP-Do you have any superstitions? If so, what?

TR-I dress the same way if we are on a winning streak.

DP-What do you see as the biggest difference in high school-aged players today versus when you played?

TR-So many more outside influences. These high school players have Hitting coaches, pitching coaches, Weight trainers, speed trainers, agents, etc. When I played we had our high school coach, Legion coach and that was it.

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill? 

TR-Beating Gary Sheffield in our district playoffs.

DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?

TR-Beating FSU in a regional semi-final and putting Stetson University one win from the CWS.

DP-Who were the three best players you played against? 

TR-Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Mo Vaughn

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why? 

TR-Pete Dunn – Head Coach Stetson University. He taught me how to play the game as a player, and he believed in me as a coach. He gave me my first full-time job as a coach. He trusted me to be his recruiting coordinator at 24.

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball? 

TR-Tiger Woods

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team? 

TR-Boston Red Sox

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball? 

TR-Golf – If had time.

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball? 


DP-What are some of your hobbies?

TR-Don’t have any hobbies, if I have any spare time it is with the family. I would feel guilty to go out and play a four hour round of golf after being on the road for a long period of time.

DP-What is your favorite movie?

TR-Man on Fire

DP-Who is your favorite actor? Actress?

TR-Denzel Washington / Sharon Stone

DP-What is your favorite meal?


DP-What is something people don’t know about you?

TR-IF I am not working, I love staying home with the family.

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?     

TR-John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Lou Gehrig. All played major roles in history.

DP-Where do you see yourself in ten years?

TR-I hope to be running my own program.

DP-What is your opinion on the new rules that the NCAA recently adopted in regards to roster limitations, the APR and the 25% scholarship rule?

TR-The roster limit I don’t have a problem with it, we never liked having large numbers. I do think the roster limit hurts some players that just want an opportunity at a certain school. I think the APR is a good thing. It makes program accountable. I don’t like the 25% rule. I think we should be able to divide the scholarship amount as we see fit.

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

TR-Keep working hard at everything you do.

DP-Coach, we really appreciate your time and responses. Best of luck to you this coming spring!