Santiago Returns to USF Softball Staff as Assistant Coach

Tommy Santiago is back with the Bulls after serving as an assistant coach for the program from 2015-16.

TAMPA, JULY 26, 2019 – USF softball head coach Ken Eriksen is excited to announce the return of Tommy Santiago to his staff as the Bulls’ new assistant coach.

Previously an assistant coach for the Bulls from 2015-16, Santiago helped the program capture the 2016 American Athletic Conference regular season title and make an appearance in the Tallahassee Regional.

“To have Coach Santiago come back to USF and rejoin Coach Jessica Moore as our two significant and dynamic assistant coaches is an advantage for us no only on the field, but also in the recruiting game,” Eriksen said. “Tommy brings a tremendous amount of field knowledge and recruiting experience to Tampa.”

Equipped with about a decade of Division I coaching experience, Santiago will take the place of Laura Ricciardone, who recently took an assistant coaching position at Yale.

“Laura Ricciardone did an incredible job in her position at USF. We were very fortunate to have her and Coach Moore keep the level of our program moving forward,” Eriksen said. “Coach Santiago is the perfect person for us not to lose a beat in our quest to get back to the Final 8.”

Prior to rejoining the Bulls, Santiago served as an assistant coach at Jacksonville University since July 2018. His Division I softball coaching experience also includes stops at Maryland (2014-15), St. John’s (2011-14) and Florida State (2008-11) since his college coaching career began as an assistant at South Suburban Junior College in 2007.

Prior to Jacksonville, Santiago was a private hitting and fielding instructor from 2016-18 at Crossfit Lutz in the Bay area following a highly successful 2016 season with the Bulls. Santiago was part of USF’s NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year that also was named the 2016 American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year after the Bulls won their first conference title in The American. USF went 45-16 in 2016 and made an appearance in the Tallahassee Regional after capturing the AAC regular season crown.

“I want to send my thanks to Michael Kelly and the administration for this wonderful opportunity,” Santiago said. “I’m ready to start helping the student-athletes grow as individuals and to continue the success that has been established. I would also like to send my gratitude to Ken Eriksen for allowing me to continue my career at the University of South Florida. I’m very humbled by this and I’m looking forward to the challenges to come.”

Before first joining the Bulls in July 2015, Santiago spent the 2015 season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Maryland, where he helped lead the Terrapins to 27 wins, a 16-win improvement from 2014. Santiago was also tasked with handling recruiting efforts and developed a format for camps while at Maryland since August 2014.

Prior to joining the staff at Maryland, Santiago was an assistant coach at St. John’s for three seasons. While at St. John’s, he was in charge of the infield-outfield, hitting, was the recruiting coordinator and helped the Red Storm reach the Big East Championship game in 2014 for only the second time in program history.

Under Santiago, St. John’s improved its fielding percentage each season, including a .961 clip in 2014 while turning 27 double plays, good for seventh in the country. During the 2012 season, Santiago’s first with the Red Storm, the team enjoyed a jump of 20 points in team fielding percentage over its 2011 totals and nine different players posted improvements in their individual fielding percentages, including three players with at least 25-point jumps.

Santiago served for three seasons on ACC powerhouse Florida State’s staff from August 2008-2011, helping lead the Seminoles to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and a conference title in 2011. In his role as assistant coach, Santiago served as a camp director, worked with the infield and outfield, prepared scouting reports and set up the defensive alignments for the Seminoles.

Santiago began his collegiate coaching career in 2007 as an assistant coach at South Suburban Junior College in Illinois after working as tournament director for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Tournament at University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 2005-07.

Santiago earned his associate’s degree in physical education from Parkland College in 2000 before receiving his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Campbellsville in 2003. Santiago then spent four years as the head baseball coach for Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill. In that role, he guided 22 student-athletes to collegiate scholarships from Division I, II, II, NAIA, and NJCAA programs around the nation. Also during that time, Santiago served as a hitting and fielding instructor at Diamond Sports Academy in nearby Mokena, Ill.

Santiago played a year of professional baseball for the River City Rascals of the Frontier League after a successful college career. He was a second-team all-conference selection at Parkland College before transferring to Campbellsville University, where he also gained second-team all-conference recognition.
 
About USF Softball
Be sure to follow USF softball on social media (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram) and visit GoUSFBulls.com for the most up-to-date informationThe USF softball program has been one of the most successful on campus, making 15 NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Women’s College World Series in 2012. 

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