2012 Coaching Changes
Ritchie named GW head coach
Colonials Get Top Choice,
By Sean Ryan
George Washington officially dismissed coach
Steve Mrowka on May 21 – insiders say he actually was told
before the Colonials’ last series of the season at Massachusetts
the weekend before. Today, nearly five months later, GW
officially named proud alumnus and Pittsburgh Pirates hitting
coach Gregg Ritchie its head coach.
To say this coaching search was atypical is an
Even though it brought in candidate after
candidate, GW knew who it wanted all along: Gregg Ritchie. But
there were two major problems: timing and money. Not only was
Ritchie in the midst of coaching the Pirates hitters, but
Pittsburgh also entered the second half of the Major League
season in a pennant chase. Throw in that bringing back Ritchie,
a GW Hall of Famer, would cost more than what the Colonials’
budget allowed and more than the other candidates would command,
and there were serious doubts that this day would ever arrive.
In late July, sources said that Ritchie had been
offered the job. But there was no announcement – those pesky
Pirates were still in the mix. But the buzz around Virginia and
the Mid-Atlantic was that Ritchie, who runs a Northern Virginia
hitting facility in the off-season, would be named the next
coach at GW.
On Aug. 10, the Colonials tabbed longtime Mary
Washington coach Tom Sheridan as associate head coach. It was
another clue that Ritchie had in fact accepted the Colonials’
offer – Ritchie and Sheridan are longtime friends, with Ritchie
serving as an assistant to Sheridan at Mary Washington from
1987-89. That day, I emailed GW officials: “Can you confirm
that Gregg has been offered the position? And can you confirm
that he will assume the head coaching position upon the
completion of the Pirates' season?” The Colonials responded
that Sheridan would lead the program until they announced a new
head coach in the fall and couldn’t get into specifics about the
head coaching situation.
At that time, we reported:
While CollegeBaseballInsider.com expects that a
deal already is in place for the top choice, it cannot confirm
the selection. Sheridan provides a safety net for the Colonials
if in fact their top choice does not come to fruition.
We chose not to name Ritchie for a few reasons.
One was that while we thought Ritchie had accepted, we were not
100 percent certain. A second reason was that because an
announcement wouldn’t be made until after the season, there was
a lot of time for a change of heart. What if the Pirates reached
the playoffs or the World Series? Would Ritchie have a change of
heart and want to stick around for another run with the Buccos
in 2013? And a third reason was that we knew that there would be
a flat denial, which came a little more than a week later.
And then, the wait.
The Pirates fell flat and again finished with a
losing record. And reports out of Pittsburgh were that Ritchie
would not return. GW, meanwhile, hired the rest of its staff and
began recruiting after missing the entire summer recruiting
Which brings us to today. A day that George
Washington has been anticipating most of the summer. A day when
it welcomes home a favorite son whom it believes can create
excitement for a program moving into a newly renovated facility.
A day that caps one of the more intriguing job searches in
The long and winding road ended today. George
Washington got its man.