NOTRE DAME, Indiana – University of Notre Dame head baseball coach Link Jarrett is pleased to announce the completion of his staff with the hires of Rich Wallace as assistant coach and Scott Wingo as a volunteer assistant. The pair will join Jarrett, pitching coach Chuck Ristano and director of operations Steve Rosen as the Irish head into the 2020 season.
“Finalizing our staff properly is extremely important and we had so much interest from coaches nationwide,” said Jarrett. “Rich and Scott complete our staff dynamic by providing talent in so many critical facets. Chuck has tremendous feel for our current roster and needs. He has been on board and recruiting hard all summer, exemplifying his continued quest to better our program as our pitching coach. Like Chuck, Steve Rosen has been on staff and continues as our Director of Baseball Operations. This staff composition is exactly what I had in mind. All of them put a premium on winning, player development, evaluating, recruiting, and program development.”
Wallace brings 16 years of coaching experience to Notre Dame and has a strong background in molding players into some of the nation’s best. Under his tutelage, Wallace has produced eight All-Americans, 49 All-Conference selections and 49 players that have been selected in the MLB Draft.
“First of all, I would like to thank Coach Jarrett for the opportunity to join his staff,” said Wallace. “I’m extremely excited to join the Notre Dame program. There is tremendous history here and I am ready to get to work.”
Wallace joins the Irish after two years as an assistant/associate head coach at Jacksonville working primarily with the hitters, catchers and recruiting. He helped guide the Dolphins to their 15th all-time NCAA Tournament selection in 2018. The Dolphins were the No. 2 seed in the Gainesville Regional, their highest seed in school history. That season, Jacksonville led the Atlantic Sun in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored and fielding percentage.
“We are very excited to have Rich and his family join the Notre Dame Baseball program,” said Jarrett. “Rich, his wife Alex, daughters Easton and Maxx, will be great additions to our organization. As a recruiting coordinator Rich built high level nationally based rosters at three private institutions. His talent as a catching instructor, as well as having the ability to instruct other positions, creates depth in our staff. He has coached elite level talent, developing many into all conference performers and professional players. His national recruiting capabilities and knack for development are exactly what we were looking for.”
Prior to Jacksonville, Wallace was incredibly successful in his three-year stint as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Creighton. In 2017, Creighton won the Big East regular season championship and featured a Freshman All-American (Will Robertson), a Johnny Bench Watch List member (Michael Emodi), and the most home runs hit by a Creighton team since permanently moving to TD Ameritrade. In 2016, the squad was nationally-ranked for six weeks, set a team record with a 3.26 GPA, and had 29 student-athletes received a 3.0 or better. Wallace also earned the accolade of Top Recruiter in the BIG EAST Conference by D1 Baseball in 2016.
Before joining the Creighton staff, Wallace served as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach at High Point University for eight seasons. With the Panthers, he brought in consecutive, nationally-ranked recruiting classes for the first time in school history, and helped lead HPU to its four highest win totals in school history. Wallace mentored four All-Americans, including three freshmen All-Americans.
Wallace’s coaching career began in the fall of 2003 with his alma mater, the University of Central Florida. His primary responsibilities included coaching the catchers and outfielders and coordinating the school’s camps. The 2004 squad won the ASUN Conference regular season championship and appeared in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional as an at-large team.
Ristano will enter his 10th season as pitching coach and has mentored some of top arms that have come through the Irish program. Since his arrival in South Bend in 2010, Ristano has produced 16 Major League draft picks on the mound, a team ERA under 4.00 in five seasons and 10 all-conference selections from the pitching staff. He led Irish hurlers to three consecutive seasons with a walks per nine innings rate lower than 3.00 for the first time in program history.
“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be on Coach Jarrett’s staff here at Notre Dame,” said Ristano. “I’ve had a lot of special moments and met many special people under the dome. For many reasons, both professional and personal, Notre Dame has become my home and I cannot wait for our players to return so we can get started. I am excited to continue to serve our great university and to be a part of our programs future.”
“Chuck has a great pedigree as a pitching coach and has developed elite performers grooming many into top draft selections,” said Jarrett. “His understanding of the level of student-athlete we are recruiting and developing is paramount in our growth as a program. Meshing modern pitching analytics with traditional philosophy is also a strength of his. Lizzy his wife and Jane his daughter are wonderful and such a pleasure to interact with. Lizzy is an excellent coach for Notre Dame softball and the entire family has deep love for Notre Dame.”
Last season, Ristano guided Cameron Junker and Shane Combs to career seasons and both got selected in the 2019 MLB Draft. This past summer, Ristano was an assistant coach with the USA Baseball U17 Developmental Team which played games at Notre Dame, Wrigley Field and Miller Park.
Ristano’s arms helped Notre Dame set a new standard in the 2017 MLB Draft. Five of his pitchers were selected in the draft, with three of them (Peter Solomon, Sean Guenther and Brad Bass) going in the first seven rounds. It marked the most selections over the first seven rounds in school history and the third time Notre Dame has produced three picks in the opening 10 rounds of a single draft. All five of the Irish pitchers selected were juniors, who improved upon their selections out of high school.
Wingo was the volunteer assistant at Jacksonville with Rich Wallace during the 2018 season. Wingo coached the infielders while also assisting with the hitters and base runners. During his tenure with the Dolphins, Wingo guided three infielders to first team Atlantic Sun honors.
“Scott loves coaching, developing players, and winning,” said Jarrett. “His skill in working on the field in many components is vital in his role at Notre Dame. He has an incredible championship pedigree and was a standout player winning two national titles at South Carolina. He has left a distinct mark everywhere he has played and coached.”
Wingo played college ball at South Carolina, where he was a four-year letterwinner from 2008-11 and played on both national championship teams in 2010 & 2011. In his senior year Wingo was named captain of the team, earned All-SEC First Team honors, and was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 College World Series. He also earned SEC All-Defensive team honors twice. His 254 career games with the Garnet & Black are the second-highest total in school history.
Wingo was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2011 MLB Draft in the 11th Round and spent three years in the Dodgers organization, where he hit .249 through 261 career games with a .360 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage.
After his time with the Dodgers he served as a student assistant coach with South Carolina in 2015, coaching the infielders and hitters. He was also an assistant coach with the Wilmington Sharks in the Coastal Plain League.
The 2016 & 2017 seasons he served as an assistant coach with North Greenville University while earning his Master’s degree, and he was also promoted to head coach of the Wilmington Sharks during the 2016 and 2017 summer season.