Head coach Wayne Riser enters his sixth season at the helm at UMW as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. Riser, who gained his 600th career victory on April 16, 2016, has won 108 games in five seasons at UMW after winning more than 500 at Division II Shelpherd College. Riser led the 2013 team to 22 wins and the second seed in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, and then finishing 27-7 and ranked regionally in 2015. The Eagles returned to the CAC Championship in 2017. He is one of 21 active coaches in Division III to attain 600-plus wins.
Riser came to Fredericksburg from Shepherd University, where he served as head coach for 22 years, winning 512 games and ranking as the all-time winningest coach in any sport in Rams’ history. He was inducted as a 2008 member of the Shepherd Athletic Hall of Fame.
In his brief time at UMW, Riser has gone 108-78, including a 71-41 mark the past three seasons. The Eagles were nationally ranked in both 2015 and 2016, and defeated nationally ranked opponents each year.
In his tenure at Shepherd, Riser guided 15 teams to winning seasons, including three 30-win campaigns in the past seven years. His 2012 team won 33 games en route to an NCAA Division II Regional Tournament appearance. Riser’s first baseman, Nathan Minnich, was named as the Division II National Player of the Year, and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the eighth round.
“We are extremely pleased to have Wayne Riser as our head baseball coach", said Director of Athletics Ken Tyler. “Wayne brings over 500 career victories and multiple NCAA tournament appearances to UMW. He recruited and coached the national Division II Player of the Year and served three years in the prestigious position of Chair of the Division II National Baseball Committee. More importantly, Wayne truly understands the role athletics plays in developing the total person and will be a great mentor to our student-athletes. We look forward to Wayne Riser taking our baseball program to even greater heights!”
In all, Riser led five teams to NCAA Tournament play, and saw 16 teams win 20 or more games. His teams won numerous WVIAC Northern Division titles, and he was recognized as WVIAC Coach of the Year four times.
Under Riser's guidance, the Rams became a force on the national scene as their 39-7 record in 1997 brought with it the highest NCAA II ranking in school history plus the first-ever trip to the NCAA North Atlantic Regionals. Shepherd's banner year earned Riser WVIAC Coach of the Year and Mid Atlantic Major League Scouts Association College Coach of the Year honors.
In his 22 seasons at Shepherd, Riser coached 45 First Team All-WVIAC and 32 All-Region selections. He has also coached nine All-Americans, six Regional Players of the Year, three Academic All-Americans, a Regional Pitcher of the Year and a Tino Martinez Player of the Year winner. Numerous players have gone on to play professionally.
Riser, who also served as facilities coordinator for the Butcher Athletic Center at Shepherd, served for two years as an assistant coach for the Rams after playing two seasons in the Blue and Gold. A reserve outfielder and part-time pitcher, Riser posted a 2-0 record on the mound for the Rams after transferring from Henderson State University (AR).
After serving as a member of the NCAA Division II Baseball Committee and chair of the North Atlantic Regional Committee for two years, Riser recently completed a stint as chair of the NCAA Division II Baseball Committee. Riser graduated from Shepherd in 1989 with a bachelor of arts degree in secondary education. He earned his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Shepherd in December 2007.
Riser and his wife Missy reside in Fredericksburg.