When former associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Justin Hill announced he was taking the same position in his home town at UL-Monroe, one would think the Lions might take a hit on the recruiting trail. But enter Matt Riser, who Jay Artigues promoted to recruiting coordinator/top assistant, and the Lions have not missed a beat.
Riser, who is entering his 5th season at SLU as the hitting coach, will continue to work with the outfielders. "He coaches with a lot of energy, just like he played. It's contagious. The guys see that and they feed off of him. He's relentless on the recruiting trail and has done a great job for us so far," said Artigues. Riser's first full recruiting class looks to be a pretty good one coming in for the 2013 season. Each recruit the Lions wanted they have commitments from and will sign early in November.
Artigues also welcomes two new coaches to the Lion family, pitching coach Daniel Latham and volunteer assistant coach Kyle Maxie. With the addition of Latham and Maxie, the Lions now sport the only coaching staff in the Soutland Conference where all three assistants have College World Series experience. Riser and Latham were teammates on Tulane's 2005 World Series team. Maxie played on Southern Mississippi's 2009 World Series team.
Latham was the pitching coach at VMI during the 2011 season, where his pitching staff recorded the 4th lowest ERA in school history and 4th most strikeouts in school history. Prior to VMI Latham was the volunteer assistant at High Point University in North Carolina. During his playing days at Tulane, the Covington, LA native set the school record with 43 saves. Latham was a 15th round selection by the Minnesota Twins in the 2007 MLB draft.
After spending two seasons at Alabama Southern Community College, Maxie joins the SLU staff as the volunteer assistant. At Alabama Southern Maxie worked with both the catchers and outfielders in addition to being the hitting coach. Maxie split time between catcher and DH during his two seasons at USM where he hit .266 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 99 career games. The Hattiesburg, MS native began his playing career at Florida State before transferring to Pearl River Community College.
The Lions open the 2012 season February 17-19 against Indiana State at "The Pat".