Last month, former Coastal Carolina baseball standout Rich Witten was hired by Big South rival Winthrop as the Eagles' new hitting coach.
The former Chanticleers first baseman, who played key roles on Coastal's 2010 NCAA Super Regionals team and on the 2011 and 2012 squads as well, spent the previous two seasons working on the staffs of Central Florida and Miami.
The Roost caught up with Witten recently to discuss his new job, his coaching aspirations and what it will be like to coach against the Chanticleers this spring.
You're working with your third different program now. What has the experience been like so far, and how did the Winthrop job come about?
Witten: "I really enjoyed my time at both places. They were two very good learning experiences for me. It's unbelievable the stuff and the planning and organization that goes into college athletics that players and a lot of of people don't see. There's a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that as a player you don't really understand what goes on and how it happens. So for me as a [former] player, I felt really comfortable with everything that happens on the field, but the last two years have been great learning experiences for me both at UCF and Miami beginning to understand what it takes to make a program run and a lot of the aspects that go into it -- including recruiting, which is the lifeline to any program.
"This summer I got a call from my former boss, the head coach at the University of Central Florida asking me if I would have interest in another position and that position would be at Winthrop. He was good friends with the head coach at Winthrop and they had an opening as hitting coach and full-time assistant. Right off the bat I was excited because it's a tough progression in college coaching -- especially not having a lot of experience in recruiting. I was really excited to potentially have the chance to recruit and be the hitting coach somewhere, and not just anywhere but at a place with a good baseball history, good facilities and a good program. Especially in a conference I'm familiar with and in the Carolina area I'm familiar with."