Courtside

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Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 10:27 a.m.

Pittsburgh Pirates batting coach denies interest in baseball head coach opening

Then- senior Eric Lara sends a pitch to home plate last season. Hatchet File Photo

Pittsburgh Pirates batting coach Gregg Ritchie, an alumnus, is not a candidate for the baseball team’s head coach opening, The Free Lance-Star reported.

Ritchie, who was an All-America outfielder for the Colonials, led the nation in batting average in 1986 and became a member of the University’s athletics hall of fame in 1999. But Ritchie said his focus remains squarely on the Pirates, seeking their first postseason bid since 1992. He added that although he’s spoken with athletic department officials “in an advisory capacity,” he hasn’t interviewed for the head coaching position and has no plans to do so.

“I’m a Pirate,” Ritchie told The Free Lance-Star. “I have nothing on my mind except the last 40 games and to continue what we’ve been doing.”

Steve Mrowka was fired as head coach of the Colonials in April after eight seasons at the helm of the team. The athletics department recently announced the hire of former University of Mary Washington coach Tom Sheridan as associate head coach, but a spokesperson declined to comment on the delay behind the reveal of the new head coach. The wait has given rise to speculation that the University is in talks with a coach currently working for a professional baseball team, and that the announcement of a new hire won’t come until the conclusion of that coach’s season.