MIAMI, FL. – One of the top recruiters and assistant coaches in collegiate baseball, FIU Athletics has selected Rich Witten as the fifth head coach in program history, following an exhaustive national search.
“We conducted a thorough national search and it became evident that Rich Witten was the right person to lead the FIU baseball program,” FIU Director of Athletics Scott Carr said. “Rich is a proven winner who has history of leading numerous programs to conference championships and NCAA Regionals as both a player and coach. He is a players’ coach who cares deeply about student-athletes and building relationships with them. He’s a phenomenal recruiter with ties to both South Florida and the entire state of Florida. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Rich to the Panther Family!”
Witten arrives at FIU following five seasons on the staff at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he served as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator since 2018. His primary responsibilities included overseeing the offense and infield defense.
This past season, Witten helped guide the Rams to a 42-20 overall record and their second straight Atlantic 10 Conference Championship. VCU also advanced to the championship game of the 2022 NCAA North Carolina Regional, where it defeated Georgia and No. 10 ranked North Carolina.
During his time at VCU, Witten also assisted in leading the Rams to the 2021 Atlantic 10 Championship and A-10 regular season titles in 2019 and 2021. Under his direction, VCU posted a 162-86 overall record and a 65-23 mark in conference play.
“I am beyond humbled and honored to be named the next head coach of FIU Baseball,” Witten said. “This is a dream opportunity that I feel I have prepared my entire life for. South Florida has a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to help lead this storied program back to a championship culture. I am thankful to Scott Carr and the administration for the opportunity and can’t wait to get to work!”
In addition, Witten boasts strong South Florida ties, having previously served as a volunteer assistant on the baseball staff at the University of Miami in 2014. Considered an excellent recruiter with numerous connections across the state of Florida, Witten was part of the Hurricanes’ program that captured the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season crown in 2014 and was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.
Furthering his connection to the state of Florida, Witten also held the position of Director of Baseball Operations at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2013.
Prior to his stint at VCU, Witten held the title of assistant coach at Winthrop University (2015, 2016, 2017) for three seasons, working primarily with the hitters, as well as the catchers and first basemen on the defensive side.
Witten aided in leading the Eagles to 102 total wins during his three-year tenure, including a No. 1 seed in the Big South tournament in 2017 and a 40-win season in 2015.
He led the Eagles to one of the best offenses in the Big South, taking them from ranking last in 2014 prior to his arrival, to the top of the conference in 2015, with a team batting average of .299.
Each year under Witten’s watch, Winthrop had a Johnny Bench Award nominee, given to the best catcher in college baseball.
Witten boasts a solid playing career at Coastal Carolina University which saw him post a .316 career batting average. He recorded 50 doubles that stands seventh among the programs’ career leaders. He also drove home 158 runs, which ranks as the sixth-best total in program annals.
He earned first team All-Big South honors as a senior in 2012 and made three Big South All-Tournament teams from 2010 through 2012. Witten played in five NCAA Regionals and two Super Regionals. He was a part of 230 wins in his career, which ties him for the top spot all-time in Coastal Carolina history.
Witten graduated from Coastal Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science and a minor in psychology.
Witten is a native of Danville, Ky., where he was a five-year letter winner, two-year captain and a Louisville Slugger All-America choice at Danville High School.
FIU Athletics contributed to this column