Viking softball looks to Riggs for revitalization
Siuslaw hires new softball coach for second straight year
Nov. 28, 2022 — On Nov. 10, Siuslaw Athletic Director Chris Johnson announced the hiring of Brian Riggs as new head coach of the Siuslaw varsity softball team.
Riggs was an assistant on William Lipe’s staff last year. Prior to that, Riggs coached with the Siuslaw Baseball and Softball Association’s (SBSA) youth leagues.
After Sean O’Mara led the program for over a decade, things have been a bit tumultuous for the Siuslaw softball program the last couple years. Lipe was hired in January 2021 with high hopes of turning around one of the few Siuslaw athletic programs that has not found much success filling the wins column the last few years.
Lipe only lasted the season. The disappointing news of losing Lipe’s leadership did result in some good news, the hiring of Riggs as the new head coach.
“My coaching philosophy is to have the athletes have fun first, but also respect each other and respect the game,” said Riggs. “As long as we’re having fun first and doing our jobs, it should pull together for us. We will try and practice hard and make the right decisions.”
The Vikings softball team was winless last year and hasn’t finished at .500 or better since 2006 when the team went 12-12. Riggs will look for his team to win some games this year, but also understands that building a high school athletic program is a multiyear process and requires more than just good coaching at the high school level. He said he recognizes that building a program starts way before athletes make it to ninth grade.
“As for our program in general, I’d like to continue seeing younger girls in the area paying more attention to softball,” the coach said. “There had been several years where it wasn’t getting a lot of interest, like everything is focused on baseball. I think signs are pointing to that turning around. I think more parents are involved which is getting younger athletes into the sport.”
There were only threes seniors on last year’s varsity team that went 0-20 on the season. That means last year’s relatively inexperienced squad should return many players this year with varsity experience. That, combined with the positive signs seen from middle school teams means hopes are high.
“Last year’s seventh/ eighth grade softball team did pretty good,” Riggs said. “They had a good team and there are some girls that were eighth graders last year that I’m looking forward to seeing this spring. I’m pretty excited for the athletes coming up.”
When not coaching softball, Riggs works as a road maintenance operator for Lane County Public Works. He is married to Katie and has three kids, 9-year-old Lloyd, sophomore Abby who will play under her father on the SHS softball team, and 20-year old Alexia who lives in Eugene.
The 2023 softball season starts March 14. Watch the Siuslaw News for coverage.