Ty Rietkovich profile
Effingham County resident Ty Rietkovich has been named the head softball coach interim athletic director at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort.
• Football player, University of South Carolina, 1980-83
• Graduate assistant coach, USC, 1984-86
• Head football coach, athletic director, Groves High School, Garden City, 1989-96
• Executive director, South Effingham Angels fastpitch softball organization, 2000-present
• Executive director, Southern Star softball showcases
• Executive director, South Georgia ASA Softball
• Director of athletic marketing, University of South Carolina-Beaufort
About USCB athletics:
Women’s teams — Cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track, volleyball
Men’s teams —Baseball, cross country, golf, tennis track
On the web: www.uscbathletics.com
Ty Rietkovich is ready to wear two hats again. Or at least in this case, a hat and a visor.
The former head football coach and athletics director at Groves High School in Garden City was named interim AD and head softball coach at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort on Friday. Rietkovich is also the executive director of the South Effingham Angels fastpitch softball organization.
Rietkovich has been serving USCB as a consultant in athletic marketing and will taking over for Kim Abbott. Abbott, who announced in March her intention to leave at the end of the school year, went to start the athletics program at Columbia International University.
“All these other possibilities came up,” Rietkovich said. “The university thought this was a good way to use its resources. I’m really grateful. It’s really very humbling.”
USCB Chancellor Jan Upshaw touted Rietkovich’s experience in athletics and in softball in announcing his hire.
“He knows USCB, having served as our athletics marketing lead,” she said in a release. “And, USCB knows the excellent quality of his work and the intensity of his commitment to the success of Sand Shark athletics.”
The Sand Sharks have 12 sports programs, five male and seven female sports. The school, with an enrollment of approximately 1,500, announced it was starting intercollegiate sports in March 2007. The Sand Shark mascot was unveiled in January 2008.
USCB competes in NAIA’s The Sun Conference, and success has come quickly to several of its programs. The baseball team reached the NAIA regionals and the men’s and women’s golf teams had top-10 finishes at their respective national tournaments, with the men’s team finishing fourth.
“Kim’s done a great job,” Rietkovich said of Abbott. “I think it speaks highly of the athletes USCB can attract.”
Rietkovich and USCB head baseball coach Rick Sofield go back to their undergraduate days at the University of South Carolina.
At Groves, Rietkovich was head football coach and AD from 1989-96 and also was golf coach, so he’s used to wearing multiple hats.
“It presents its own set of challenges,” he said. “Being AD and head football coach and head golf coach at Groves and all the dual roles I’ve held has prepared me for this. College presents its own set of challenges.”
Rietkovich stepped away from coaching and athletic administration about 15 years ago so he could watch his daughters grow up. Eldest Katie is a redshirt freshman on the University of Georgia softball team, now taking part in the NCAA College World Series. Youngest daughter Caroline is a sophomore cheerleader at South Effingham High School.
“I think it’s something that up until about 15 years ago I had been preparing for and planning for,” he said of his new positions. “I really put all of this on hold for Katie and Caroline. When I stepped away from coaching and teaching and being an athletic administrator, I did it to make sure I was going to be the right kind of father for them. I never knew if I was going to get this opportunity.”
The softball program was scheduled to have started two years ago and is now on track for a spring 2012 start. Rietkovich’s involvement in the Angels organization — 19 of its players have gone on to play collegiately — since its inception 10 years ago.
He’s also the executive director of the Southern Star softball showcases and South Georgia ASA softball.
“It couldn’t come at a better time,” Rietkovich said. “The modern era of softball in southeast Georgia only really came about a few years ago. Until Megen Smith came along, it was unheard of for a girl to play at the collegiate level. Now we have 19 girls from the Angels playing in college. That will bode well.”
USCB’s program also will another outlet for prospective college players as fast-pitch softball continues to grow in the Coastal Empire, he said.
“It’s going to provide a reasonable option for all the girls in this area in their collegiate choices,” Rietkovich noted. “Having one this close is going to be helpful to them.”
NAIA rules also will allow him to continue to supervise the Angels program, which now has teams from under-10 to under-18. Rietkovich said he’ll start delegating more responsibilities within the Angels organization and is keenly aware it will help him recruit players for his soon-to-start Sand Sharks softball team.
“It will not affect my leadership in the organization. We’re going to continue to build it,” he said. “That’s what’s best for the girls. If they want to come to USCB, it will be there for them.”
And Rietkovich, even with his new jobs, vowed to be there for his youngest daughter.
“I’ll continue to be at football games on Friday night to watch my baby girl cheer on the sidelines,” he said.