It’s not easy landing a job as a Division I head basketball coach. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get to that level. Kevin Baggett spent 16 years as an assistant coach in college basketball. Baggett’s diligence and experience were rewarded this week when Rider University named him head basketball coach.
“I can’t tell you how blessed I am, first and foremost,” Baggett said. “It’s a very small select group of head coaches throughout the country and to be one … I couldn’t be happier or prouder. I’m looking forward to coaching this team and taking this program forward. I’m ecstatic.”
Baggett joined the Rider basketball staff during the 2006–2007 season. He has been the associate head coach the last four years. He replaces Tommy Dempsey, who left Rider to become the head coach at Binghamton University.
Baggett came to Rider from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he served as an assistant coach from 2004 to 2006 under Randy Monroe, former Roman Catholic and Cheyney University basketball standout. In addition to UMBC, he was an assistant coach at James Madison, Howard, Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina.
When it comes to basketball, Baggett has some great roots. His father, Bill Baggett, was a terrific basketball player at Simon Gratz. Kevin was a sensational basketball player as well. He played some great basketball at Burlington Township High School. He played in the Sonny Hill League. Baggett played his college basketball for Saint Joseph’s University. He was a member of the 1985–86 Hawk team that put together a 26-6 record and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. That squad featured Hawks Geoff Arnold and Bruiser Flint. Both Arnold and Flint are now coaches. Arnold is an assistant at Saint Joseph’s and Flint is Drexel’s head coach. Arnold and Flint have been big influences in Baggett’s coaching career.
“I was glad to see Bruiser and Geoff at the press conference to support me,” Baggett said. “That really meant a lot to me. We talk all the time. They’ve both been an inspiration to me. I have a good relationship with them. We were at St. Joe’s together. They’ve really helped me over the years. They knew coaching is something I really wanted to do.”
Baggett has always been interested in coaching as a career. He knew that even during his time as a player.
“I actually got started doing basketball camps and clinics,” Baggett said. “I was at St. Joe’s at the time. I really liked coaching and working with the kids. I wanted to give something back. I knew I wanted to be involved with basketball. I didn’t want to have a desk job. Basketball has been my life and my passion.
“I’ve been really fortunate. My first coaching job was at Cinnaminson High School (New Jersey). I worked there for five years. After that, I got my first coaching job in college. I became an assistant at Coastal Carolina.”
Baggett is excited about the Broncs team that’s coming back this year. Although the team struggled with a 13-19 overall record last season, he feels Rider has a chance to have a good year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He has some good players on this year’s team.
“We have some great returning players like Danny Stewart (former Neumann-Goretti star) and Anthony Myles,” Baggett said. “Nurideen Lindsey (former Overbrook High standout) will be playing for us. He played at St. John’s, but came over here and wanted to be a little closer to home. Of course, we have Derrick Stewart (Neumann-Goretti product, Danny’s brother) coming here. I’m just excited about the guys coming back. They’re athletic and have a lot of talent.”
Baggett is ready to begin his new position with a lot of enthusiasm.