Men's College Basketball
Rider Introduces Head Coach Kevin Baggett
LAWRENCEVILLE-Kevin Baggett was named the Bronc head coach May 24 and was formally introduced to over 100 people at a press conference on Wednesday.
"This large turnout of media, Rider faculty and staff, current players and former players is a good sign that this was a popular decision," Rider Director of Athletics Don Harnum said. "It was also a convenient decision, but let me make it very clear, this was not a hire of convenience. This was a hire because I firmly believe and am very confident that Kevin is the right person to lead this program in the future."
Baggett succeeds Tommy Dempsey, the Rider head coach since the 2005-06 season, who recently left Rider to become the head coach at Binghamton University. "You can talk about the timing all you want," Harnum said, "but timing had nothing to do with it. The timing occurred six years ago when Kevin decided to join our staff."
Baggett has coached on the Division I level for 16 years and has been on the Rider staff since the 2006-07 season, including the last four as the associate head coach.
"I'm honored to be here and I'm totally blessed to be here," said Baggett, a former Saint Joseph's University player and standout performer at the scholastic level in New Jersey. "After 16 years of coaching on the collegiate level, after all of the hard work of being a player, coaching on the high school level, working various camps and clinics, traveling all over the country, to get me to this day, it's an unbelievable day. I thank God for this day."
"Every good athletics director has a short list of who they would hire if something happens," Harnum said, "and every year Kevin went up a notch on that short list. It is an absolute pleasure today to welcome Kevin as our new head basketball coach."
"Today is not about me," Baggett said. "This is about all of the wonderful people who have played a part in my life, that have allowed me to get to this point in my life. All of the support, the love, the backing of my family and friends."
Over the last six seasons, Rider's 111 wins is the most in the Metropolitan New York/New Jersey area, ahead of LIU (107), Hofstra (106) and Seton Hall (100), and the third most in the MAAC, behind Siena (124) and Fairfield (114).
"I'm not looking to make wholesale changes from the way that we've played," Baggett said. "Obviously I'm going to make some adjustments but I want to continue to allow our players to play to their strengths."
Baggett hails from Burlington and was a 2006 inductee into the South Jersey Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Saint Joseph's 1985-86 team that compiled a 26-6 record and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He received his bachelor's degree in marketing from Saint Joseph's in June, 1989.
Baggett came to Rider from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he served as assistant coach from 2004-06. At UMBC Baggett recruited an America East All-Rookie Team member who went on to earn First Team All-Conference honors three times, as well as a pair of transfers from the Colonial Athletic Association who went on to earn All-America East honors.
Baggett has also served as an assistant coach at James Madison, Howard, Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina. "I'm thankful for the way Rider does things," Baggett said.
Since joining the MAAC in 1998, Rider has compiled a record of 151-119 in conference games. Only conference members Iona and Siena have better all-time winning percentages in MAAC games.