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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Baseball head coach builds legacy at GW

Head+Coach+Gregg+Ritchie+watches+over+his+players+in+a+win+against+Coppin+State.
Arwen Clemans | Staff Photographer
Head Coach Gregg Ritchie watches over his players in a win against Coppin State.

At GW, baseball isn’t just a team, it’s a family.

Head Baseball Coach and former student-athlete Gregg Ritchie has been a core member of that family since his playing days. Viewed as both a mentor and father figure by his squad, Ritchie’s holistic commitment to fostering player growth has been a hallmark of his coaching mentality, fostering success among his players both on and off the field.

“There’s a total buy in, you can look at me and say, ‘Hey, I hear you and I trust you,’” Ritchie said. “So if you can’t build a relationship, you can’t create trust, and if you can’t create trust, the truth doesn’t come out.”

Prior to his coaching career, Ritchie made his mark on the field at GW as a pitcher and outfielder. He batted a .492 average during the 1986 season, second highest in the country. As a pitcher, he earned a 6-3 record on top of a 1.91 ERA that same year.

Ritchie was selected as the 188th pick in the 1986 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He spent a majority of his career in the minor leagues, playing for Giants affiliates before playing one season with the Texas Rangers’ triple-A affiliate.

His coaching career began in 1996 as a hitting coach for the Bristol White Sox, a member of the Chicago White Sox’s minor league system. After stints with various minor league teams, including the Winston-Salem Dash, Burlington Bees, Birmingham Barons and Charlotte Knights, Ritchie joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as a hitting coach in 2006.

Ritchie returned to D.C. in 2012, this time as his head coach at his alma mater.

“I was always coming back here,” Ritchie said. “It didn’t matter when I was playing or when I was coaching the White Sox or Pirates, or when I was in the big leagues. Every offseason, in any chance I could get, I was always coming back here with the other coaches. All the other coaches that were here, and sitting in the office and talking to the players, or going to the cage and watching them.”

For Ritchie, baseball wasn’t the only factor when returning to GW as head coach. Ritchie who is married to Kelly Siegel, an 1986 GW alum and former men’s rowing coxswain, is the father of four children, who were concluding their middle, high school and college degrees when he rejoined the Revs. Ritchie and Siegel met through mutual friends and have been together for 42 years.

Ritchie said as a freshman, he would watch Siegel go on runs and was drawn to her strong personality, deeming her a “Brooklyn girl” who keeps him straight.

“I got a chance to be a better father, a better husband and get back to my kids, which I didn’t know my kids as well as I should and be with my kids and grow up with at least a little bit.” Ritchie said. “You can’t replace what you missed, but you can be there for them.”

During his inaugural season in 2013, Ritchie secured the title of Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Revs to a 15-9 conference record. That same graduating class later described him as “a father away from home” at their 2017 commencement ceremony.

Graduate student utility player Steve DiTomaso said he and Ritchie grew closer throughout his five years at GW, ultimately creating a unique bond.

“Even though I didn’t really know him, the way I know him now, that’s the reason I chose to come to this school, and it’s exceeded expectations,” DiTomaso said. “We’ve become very close and I wouldn’t trade our relationship for the world.”

Charles Tsintolas, a 2020 GW alum, said Ritchie differs from most coaches he’s played for due to his parental role, influencing him beyond the diamond. Tsintolas said Ritchie sends a message to players on their birthday every year. So far, Ritchie has not missed a text to him.

“He routinely follows up every year with me on my birthday, calls me on my birthday, always wants to know how I’m doing,” Tsintolas said.

Tsintolas said when his own throwing ability suffered a decline, Ritchie offered him referrals to sports psychologists and said Ritchie notices when players struggle mentally or physically and offers solutions.

“Even though I wasn’t able to ultimately figure it out, Greg stuck by me,” Tsintolas said. “He sent me to sports psychologists who he recommended. He never made me feel as if I was a burden, or anything like that. And because of that, I gave everything I could to help the team in whatever capacity I could.”

Junior utility player Sam Gates played zero games his freshman season in 2022 for the Revs due to an injury, which, he said, allowed him to build a relationship with Ritchie away from the field.

“Coach Ritchie has been a big part of my life from day one, from the recruitment process and then getting here on campus,” Gates said. “Unfortunately, shortly into my freshman season, I had a pretty bad injury. So, leaning on Coach Ritchie and leaning on the guys was a really big thing for me, just developing as a young man and as a baseball player.”

Ritchie said his homecoming to GW demonstrates his devotion to his alma mater, and more importantly, his home.

“It was my alma mater,” Ritchie said. “I saw the impact, and understood the impact I can make on younger guys in this environment because this is the environment where they’re making big strides in life.”

In his 12th season as head coach, the Revolutionaries opened their season this year with a four-game losing streak. Since then, the team has achieved a 24-19 record, standing seventh in the conference out of 12 teams.

“It’s really these coaches, these young men, that really drive me because I know there’s an impact to be had,” Ritchie said. “For me to be able to do that is it’s a gift to have the opportunity to get around all these guys, and impact them and see them come back like that, and then see their lives be really good.”

Ritchie said he has nurtured a tight-knit group of athletes devoted to baseball and bettering one another on and off the mound. He also said that masses of alumni frequently return to watch games and support younger players.

“Oh, it’s joy,” Ritchie said. “It really is. It doesn’t matter where the day is, when you see those guys, and they came to be a part of what they were already a part of. They say, ‘I still love this. I’m coming back.I think that speaks volumes to the coaching staff here, us and all our brothers and players, and they want to come back and be a part of it.”

Ritchie earned his status as the University’s winningest baseball coach March 1, notching 276 career wins. He currently stands at 296 wins.

“I bleed Buff and Blue,” Ritchie said. “So it was a real honor to number one, come back here, and number two, to be able to help this program grow.”

Ritchie said the strong relationships he has built among and with players is the reason he coaches and a testament to its power.

“It’s really about our relationships, it’s really about the growth of human beings and turning boys into men if you can say that today,” Ritchie said. “I say that with all sincerity and all heart-filled passion for all the kids that are here, that they have a special life and a special experience here and to look back and say, ‘Hey, what’s your legacy?’”

Ben Spitalny contributed reporting.

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