Riser stays

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Picayune’s Matt Riser was one of a handful of candidates thought to be in line for the open head coaching position at Tulane.

Instead of Riser, though, who just completed his first year at the helm of Southeastern Louisiana University, it is another coach in the Southland Conference that will take over the Green Wave program.

David Pierce, who guided the Sam Houston State Bearkats to three consecutive trips to the NCAA Regionals, has been named the 23rd head coach of the Tulane Green Wave baseball program, as it was announced Sunday by Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson.

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“After a very thorough search that created great interest throughout college baseball, it is with great pleasure that we introduce David Pierce as the new head coach of Tulane baseball,” said Dickson. “David brings a great track record of coaching with energy, enthusiasm and strong history of recruiting while developing some of the country’s finest collegiate players, as evidenced by the selection of five student-athletes from his first recruiting class at SHSU being chosen in this week’s MLB draft. David’s contributions during his tenure at Rice ranked among the nation’s best in that decade, which were an important factor as we sought the best fit to lead Tulane baseball back to national prominence.”

Pierce becomes just the fourth head coach to man the Green Wave dugout as head skipper since 1967, joining Milt Retif (1967-74), Joe Brockhoff (1975-93) and Pierce’s predecessor, Rick Jones (1994-2014).

Riser played for the Green Wave in 2005 and 2006, starting in the outfield. He guided the Green Wave to the 2005 College World Series. This past season, as one of the youngest head coaches of a Division I program in the country, he guided the Lions to their first NCAA Tournament win in 22 years as well as a SLC Tournament championship.

Riser, who played under Jones, announced Friday night that he would be staying in Hammond.

Jones said Riser stood out to him upon transferring from Pearl River Community College as a leader.

“Very seldom does a junior college transfer end up being your captain, but that tells you about how solid he was as a person and how mature he was,” Jones said.

Riser, who led Picayune High to a state title in 2002, was a role player in 2005 for Tulane, serving as a replacement in the outfield, though he keyed a victory against Rice in the Super Regional that season.

Riser played in 108 games in two years with the Green Wave. As a senior, he played in all 64 games and made 57 starts, finishing the season with three home runs, 37 RBIs and 16 doubles, helping Tulane to an NCAA Regional Final Appearance.