Riggle finds his “way back home”

Rebecca Littrel, Lamp writer

You always find your way back home. That saying is all too true for Lincoln Land Athletic Director Ronald Lee “Ron” Riggle Jr.

Riggle has been LLCC’s athletic director for 22 years, but before he took on that job and coaching the baseball team, he played baseball here at LLCC.

Riggle grew up in Springfield, attended Springfield High, where he participated in golf and baseball. Graduating in 1986, he continued his athletic and academic career at Lincoln Land, pitching for the loggers from 1986 to 1988.

After LLCC, Riggle attended Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to play baseball and study business.

After working for his father for five years, Riggle became the athletic director in 1997.

“He was a pitching coach for Lincoln Land before he was the head coach,” said Loren White, a long-time friend of Riggle.

Riggle was the pitching coach for two years before starting full time at LLCC.

“He coached both of my sons, and I was in his wedding,” White said.

Now, Riggle has to balance both coaching as well as being in charge of all athletic programs.

“It’s hard sometimes, there is only one of me,” Riggle said. “And when I am with baseball, I can only be in one place at a time. But I have great coaches who understand what they need to do to get things done.”

Riggle has found the balance between being an athletic director and coach.

“Ron has always cared about his athletes. As a coach, I now see how hard he works to provide the best facilities and opportunities for the athletes,” said Softball Head Coach Rachel Wisner.

Wisner played for two years as a Logger and now works beside one of the people who helped her throughout her years at LLCC.

“My favorite part is making a difference in young lives. I obviously love the competition and teaching the game, but making an impact at such an influential time in their lives is so much more important to me than the number of games we win,” he said.

Riggle has been very successful over the years with the baseball program, He has been to the national tournament seven times as a coach and won the championship twice in 1994 and 2000. Riggle took last year’s baseball team to the NJCAA World Series, finishing in 7th place. The team hopes for another shot at the title this year.

“Being in the national tournament was an experience like no other, I feel like we became so much closer as a team knowing we were competing for a national championship,” said sophomore catcher Josh Graves.

Added Graves: “Coach Riggle obviously played a huge role in what we had going last year. He showed up every day with a smile on his face and a huge plan to get us where we needed to be to compete for a national championship, and the results clearly showed that.”

When Sophomore Ben Johnson found out he had to have surgery on his elbow following his successful freshman season, he said he was not nervous about having to tell Riggle.

“Riggle always does what’s best for the school and the person,” Johnson said. “Riggle proposed that I take a year off and come back when I recover. Which meant I could keep that year of eligibility so that I could keep playing when I was healthy.”

Finding time for all of these responsibilities and having a life at home is something Riggle is all too familiar with. Riggle and his wife, Angie, are raising four children: Seth, 24; Noah, 22; Connor, 21; and Becca, 13.

Riggle as an athletic director enjoys attending home games for all other sports Lincoln Land offers. Often times, one will find him running the clock or scoreboard for these sports and talking to the athletes during halftime or between games.

“I love my job, making an impact on young lives is a huge part of why I enjoy what I do, seeing athletes succeed in the classroom and on the court or field is so rewarding,” Riggle said.