Riser mentioned at Tulane

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Picayune’s Matt Riser guided Southeastern Louisiana University to its first NCAA Tournament win in 22 years in his first year as head coach of the Lions.

His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.

Riser has been mentioned over the past week as a possible candidate for the open head coach position at Tulane. Riser was a starting outfielder for the Green Wave in the mid 2000’s, and helped lead Tulane to its last College World Series appearance in 2005.

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The former Picayune High standout is one of a handful of coaches that have been linked to the Green Wave top spot to replace longtime head coach Rick Jones, whom Riser played for.

“It’s so hard to put into words,” Riser said, trying to explain the impact Jones had on him. “I think you could start off by saying he is a legendary, fantastic baseball coach but an even better man. He’s a huge part of the reason where I am at today. If it wasn’t for him, I would not be where I am at.

“The opportunities he gave me at Tulane and the situations he helped me to deal with there as a player, to have that coach there by your side and to help you through tough times outside of baseball in your personal life and that kind of stuff, that’s what (sticks out) to me.”

Reports on Monday that one prime candidate has removed himself from consideration has even increased the speculation of Riser heading back to the Big Easy.

llinois State head baseball coach Mark Kingston has backed out of a potential interview for the open Tulane job, according to reports.

Kingston, a former Tulane recruiting coordinator under longtime head coach Rick Jones, has produced 30-plus win seasons in each of his five campaigns which is a school record at ISU. His 2014 Redbirds went 33-22 overall advanced to the Missouri Valley Conference league tournament championship game before losing to Dallas Baptist, 4-1.

At Tulane, Kingston produced Top 25 recruiting classes in six of his seven seasons as recruiting coordinator. That included a 2005 class ranked No. 4 in the nation by Baseball America.

Reportedly, Kingston has his sights set on the opening at the University of South Florida.

Green Wave interim coach Jake Gautreau is expected to get an interview.

Arizona’s Matt Siegal and Mississippi State’s Butch Thompson are two other assistants that could draw interest. Thompson, the associate head coach at MSU, is a pitching guru who was an assistant at Georgia and Auburn as well as coaching in the junior college ranks.

Siegal is a Florida graduate who began his coaching career as an assistant with UNLV in 2003. He was the third base coach at Texas Christian during the 2000’s and is in his third season with Arizona.

In addition, Ole Miss assistant head coach Cliff Goodwin has been mentioned as a possible candidate at both Tulane and East Carolina.