LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas softball has added a Women's College World Series-caliber coach to its staff. KU head coach Megan Smith announced on Monday the addition of associate head coach Rich Wieligman, who led Oklahoma State to the sport's biggest stage in 2011.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Rich on our staff," Smith said. "He was my first choice for this position when it opened up because of his extensive experience in the Big 12 as a successful head coach at Oklahoma State, assistant coach at Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor. He is an elite-level hitting coach who knows the Big 12, knows how to prepare for the Big 12 and is going to help our hitters be successful in the Big 12."
Wieligman served as the head coach at Oklahoma State for nine seasons from 2007 to 2015 and is coming off a two-year stint at the University of Texas at Dallas. He will primarily coach KU's outfielders and hitters.
"Having this opportunity to become a Jayhawk is such a great opportunity," Wieligman said. "I look forward to working with the program and continuing to build progress toward bringing championships to Kansas. At my core, I want to bring out the best in our student-athletes and to help them get better every day. With our first-class facilities and a dedicated coaching staff, there is no place better to pursue those goals than at KU."
The Kansas City-area native led the Cowgirls to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the 2011 Women's College World Series. Over those nine seasons, Wieligman won 275 games while coaching 24 all-conference selections, 19 all-region players and one All-American. In addition, he mentored 51 academic all-conference players and two Academic All-Americans.
In his two seasons at UT Dallas, Wieligman led the Comets to a 42-18 conference record, an American Southwest Conference (ASC) title and an NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. Wieligman coached the first All-American at UT Dallas and was named the ASC's Coach of the Year in 2017 after guiding the Comets to best record in school history at 36-10.
Wieligman played baseball collegiately at Lubbock Christian University, earning his bachelor's degree in education in 1985. While at Lubbock Christian, Wieligman helped the Chaparrals to an NAIA National Championship in 1983 and was named an NAIA All-American in 1984. Upon graduation, he spent four years in the farm system of the Detroit Tigers as a first baseman/outfielder, reaching the AAA level. Wieligman would later play in both Japan and the Dominican Republic before starting his coaching career.
Wieligman began his coaching career as an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater before taking over as head baseball coach at Lubbock Christian High School. After working with the Boys & Girls Club of Midland, he began his softball coaching career as the head coach at Midland High School in 1993 before moving to the collegiate ranks. After serving as recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for Baylor, he made his first NCAA appearance in 2001 while at Texas Tech and then helped coach Texas A&M to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2003-06, including a trip to the super regionals in 2005. In 2005, Texas A&M led NCAA D-I in team batting average.
Wieligman joins the KU staff after the departure of former KU associate head coach John Rittman, who accepted a head-coaching position at Clemson.
"It was tough to see John leave, but we are really excited for his new opportunity at Clemson and thankful for what he has done for our program," Smith said.
WIELIGMAN COACHING CAREER
School: Position (Seasons)
Kansas: Associate Head Coach (2018- )
University of Texas at Dallas: Head Coach (2016-17)
Oklahoma State: Head Coach (2007-15)
Texas A&M: Assistant Coach (2003-06)
Texas Tech: Assistant Coach (2001-02)
Baylor: Assistant Coach (1999-2000)