Women's basketball coach Ted Riverso led the Tommies to a 337-80 record over 15 years, and to the national championship in 1991.
Ex-Tommie coach Ted Riverso joins U of M women's staff
The University of Minnesota has announced that ex-St. Thomas head coach Ted Riverso will join Pam Borton's Golden Gopher staff as an assistant coach in women's basketball.
“I’m very, very excited about joining Pam’s staff,” said Riverso. “It’s a great opportunity that I didn’t think I’d have – to coach Division I basketball in the Big Ten. I’m looking forward to the chance to work with Pam. I believe it is a great time to be involved in the University’s program.”
“Ted is an excellent addition to our staff,” added Borton. “Ted’s coaching record speaks for itself and his knowledge of the game will be an invaluable asset to our staff. He’s also a proven recruiter with solid ties obviously in the state of Minnesota, but nationally as well. We are thrilled to have him join our staff at Minnesota.”
Riverso's 15-year run produced a remarkable 337-80 record with an NCAA championship, two third-place national finishes and five conference crowns. Riverso's last 13 Tommie teams had 13 NCAA playoff trips, 11 top-two conference finishes and all won 19 or more games.
Riverso guided St. Thomas to Division III's best record in the 1990s (247-37, .870). In that decade UST won the 1991 national title and played in three D-III Final Fours; won four MIAC Championships during a six-year span from 1995 to 2000; had 12 players receive All-America mention; and had seven MIAC Player of the Year honorees.
Riverso was inducted into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. He was named the National Coach of the Year by the American Women Sports Federation (AWSF) following the 1991 national title season. He also was a six-time conference Coach of the Year and three-time Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA)/Converse District Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
Riverso is in his 29th year as a Minnesota resident. The Philadelphia native and graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School attended St. Thomas from 1972-74. He returned to Pennsylvania and received a B.A. degree in philosophy from West Chester (Pa.) College in 1976 and a master's degree from the same institution in 1978.
Riverso returned to Minnesota in 1978 and joined the staff at what was then the College of St. Thomas in the admissions department and worked as a part-time Philosophy instructor. He also worked as the Tommies' assistant coach in women's basketball for three years, an assistant coach for men's basketball for three years, then was head women's coach for 15 seasons, from 1984-99. He's worked as a development officer at the university the last seven years. He was inducted into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.
Riverso's 337-80 won-loss record (.808 winning percentage) at St. Thomas included a 260-50 record in conference play (.838 winning percentage). St. Thomas' 247-37 record during the 1990s was the best among more than 350 NCAA Division III teams.
His St. Thomas team earned 12 consecutive NCAA playoff berths and reached the round of 16 in 10 of those 12 appearances. The Tommies had three national Final Four trips, two other NCAA Great Eight trips and five other Sweet Sixteen appearances. His teams set an NCAA Division III record for consecutive wins (since broken) of 40 from 1991-92.
Riverso helped develop eight players – all Minnesotans – who went on to receive Division III first-team or honorable mention All-America honors a total of 15 times. Among his elite players:
- Laurie Trow, a graduate of Rochester John Marshall High, was National Player of the Year and a 3X Kodak All-American and now is a Division I head coach at Northern Arizona.
- Amy Bot, a graduate of Robbinsdale Armstrong High, was a first-team Kodak All-American
- Laura Witte, a graduate of Roseville High, was a two-time first-team Kodak All-American
- Kirsten Vipond, a graduate of West Central High, was a first-team Kodak All-American and two-time HM honoree
- Tonja Englund, a graduate of Roseville High, was a Kodak honorable mention All-American
- Mollie Pattyn, a graduate of Eden Prairie High, was a Kodak honorable mention All-American
- Molly Hayden, a graduate of Hopkins High, was an honorable mention Kodak for Riverso and went on to become a first-team Kodak All-American
- Missy Pederson, a graduate of Robbinsdale Armstrong High, played one season for Riverso and went on to become a two-time Kodak All-American
Trow (three times), Englund, Bot, Pattyn and Vipond all were named MIAC Player of the Year during Riverso's era.
Riverso's players also excelled in the classroom and represented the university well in community and campus service projects. He had a 100-percent graduation rate, and those individuals continue to excel today in their careers as teachers, coaches, accountants, doctors and business people, to list a few.
Riverso retired from college coaching in 1999 and in the seven years since has worked closely with the Tommie athletic department in his job with the university's Development office. He also was an assistant coach last season at Benilde-St. Margaret, where his daughter played, and was part of a Class AAA state championship team.
In 1998 Riverso was named Best Local Sports Coach by City Pages.