Kevin Baggett, the associate head coach at Rider University, has been named the Bronc head coach and will be formally introduced to the media, Rider community and the general public at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday, May 30, Rider Director of Athletics Don Harnum announced today.
The press conference will take place in the Rider Hall of Fame Room in the Student Recreation Center Atrium.
"I'm delighted to announce that Kevin Baggett will be the next leader of the Rider basketball program," Harnum said. "Kevin has been a major part of our recent success and I am confident he has the ability to be an excellent head coach who understands what it takes to be successful at Rider. We are committed to building a program that wins consistently by focusing on recruiting quality student-athletes and then developing them to their fullest potential as students, people, and basketball players."
Baggett has coached on the Division I level for 16 years and been on the Rider staff since the 2006-07 season, including the last four as the associate head coach.
"I will be forever grateful to President Rozanski, Associate Vice President Debbie Stasolla and our Athletic Director Don Harnum for giving me the opportunity to become Rider's next head men's basketball coach," said Baggett, a former Saint Joseph's University player and standout performer at the scholastic level in New Jersey. "I am looking forward to building on the tradition and success that has been established here at Rider and I am eager and excited to get started."
Baggett succeeds Tommy Dempsey, the Rider head coach since the 2005-06 season, who left Rider to become the head coach at Binghamton University.
"I am very pleased to hear that Kevin will be the next Rider head coach," Dempsey said. "He has been a true asset to the program over the last six seasons, which included several of the most successful seasons in Rider history."
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).
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.
The hiring of Baggett comes on the heels of Dempsey's departure.
"I cannot say enough positive things about my experience at Rider and I will miss being a part of the University," said Dempsey, who compiled a record of 111-85 as head coach at Rider following an 8-20 season as the interim head coach. "It is very difficult to say goodbye to the players and to an administration that has been so good to me."
Dempsey led Rider to two program record 23-win seasons (2008, 2011) and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season title (2008). He won 82 games over a four-year period, a program record, before finishing 13-19 in 2012.
"Tommy is a good coach who did a terrific job during his nine seasons at Rider," Harnum, who preceded Dempsey as the Rider head basketball coach. "I appreciate all of his efforts in building upon the proud tradition of Rider basketball and I wish him and his family continued success in the future."
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.