Rich Wallace ‘04, an Orlando native and former UCF baseball player and Knight assistant coach, brings two decades of experience as a Division I baseball coach with him in his return to Orlando as UCF’s seventh head baseball coach.
Wallace spent the 2023 season as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State. He previously coached at Notre Dame (2020-22), Jacksonville (2018-19), Creighton (2015-17), High Point (2009-14) and UCF (2004-08). Wallace helped teams at UCF in 2004, Jacksonville in 2018 and Notre Dame in 2021 and 2022 to NCAA Championship appearances.
A 2004 UCF graduate, Wallace becomes the first alumnus to be named head coach of an NCAA-sponsored men’s sport at UCF since 1988. He played four seasons of baseball for the Knights from 2000-03, helping those teams reach the NCAA Championship in 2000, 2001 and 2002. As a freshman, he led UCF with a .380 batting average and .529 on-base percentage. He played a key role as UCF won the ASUN regular season in 2000-02 and the ASUN conference tournament in 2001 and 2002.
His combined NCAA Championship experience includes three times as a UCF player and four times as an assistant coach (two Super Regional appearances and one College World Series berth).
“Rich Wallace will be a perfect fit for UCF baseball,” says UCF vice president and director of athletics Terry Mohajir. “As a player and coach, he already has experienced UCF and played on three UCF NCAA tournament teams. His experience as a national recruiter and with player development is well-known. In particular, his recent work at Notre Dame is noteworthy in producing consecutive teams advancing to the Super Regional level, one of those advancing to Omaha. I firmly believe Rich has a great understanding of what it takes to build a tournament team and an Omaha roster.”
“To come back to UCF as the head baseball coach is absolutely a dream come true for myself and my family,” says Wallace. “I’m truly grateful to Terry Mohajir and (University president) Dr. Alex Cartwright for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Wallace spent the past four seasons working with head coach Link Jarrett at Notre Dame (2020-22) and Florida State (2023). In South Bend he served as recruiting coordinator and third-base coach while also working with Irish hitters and catchers. He oversaw defensive alignments, managed opposing pitcher video scouting reports, helped coordinate baserunning instruction and assisted with game management during his tenure in South Bend. His role in Tallahassee also featured the recruiting coordinator assignment.
Under Wallace’s guidance, Notre Dame led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked in the top 15 nationally in fielding percentage in both 2021 and 2022. Notre Dame threw out more than 35 percent of attempted base stealers, while Irish runners finished in the top four in the league in stolen bases each season.
In Wallace’s three years at Notre Dame the Irish were 86-32 (.729), second-best winning percentage in the country over that span. Notre Dame’s 44-21 (.677) three-year ACC record was the best in the league, and the Irish won the conference’s regular-season title (their first ACC crown) by 4.5 games in 2021. Notre Dame finished 41-17 in 2022 (most wins for the Irish since 2006) and set a single-season home run record with 79.
Wallace helped guide the Irish to back-to-back NCAA Super Regionals (first time at Notre Dame) and the 2022 College World Series in the third trip to Omaha in program history. In 2021, first baseman Niko Kavadas became a first-team All-American–Notre Dame’s first since 2002–and set the school record with 22 home runs (second in the ACC and third in the nation).
At Notre Dame, Wallace coached two All-Americans, three All-ACC selections and 14 players were named to the All-ACC Academic Team. Throughout his extensive career, Wallace has produced 53 Major League Baseball draft selections and coached more than 60 all-conference performers.
He spent the 2018-19 seasons back in his home state as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville under head coach Chris Hayes. In 2018 Wallace and the Dolphins finished 40-21 and reached the NCAA Championship as a two seed, the highest in program history. That season, the Dolphins led the ASUN in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored and fielding percentage.
Wallace was the recruiting coordinator at Creighton (2015-17 under head coach Ed Servais) and High Point (2009-14 under head coach Craig Cozart). He was named the Big East Recruiter of the Year by D1Baseball in 2016 at Creighton. At High Point he helped bring in consecutive nationally ranked recruiting classes for the first time in school history.
Wallace began his coaching career at UCF (2004-08 under head coach Jay Bergman), coaching the catchers and outfielders while coordinating the camps. UCF won the ASUN regular-season title in 2004 and reached the NCAA Championship.
He remains in UCF’s top 10 in single-season on-base percentage (.529 in 2000) and career hit by pitch (46). Wallace in 2000 was an honorable mention Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and a third-team All-ASUN selection as a designated hitter. In his four seasons with the Knights, UCF won a combined 166 games (51-14 in 2001, 43-19 in 2000, 41-22 in 2002), including a combined 67-17 mark in ASUN play in 2000-02.
After his playing career as a 6-1, 220-pound infielder with the Knights concluded, Wallace earned his degree in 2004 from UCF’s College of Undergraduate Studies with a major in interdisciplinary studies and a minor in criminal justice (after graduating from Bishop Moore High School in Orlando). He and his wife, Alex, have two daughters, Easton and Maxx.
Wallace takes over a UCF baseball program that has made 13 NCAA Championship appearances and produced 10 seasons when the Knights have won a conference regular-season crown, a conference tournament or both. UCF began competition in baseball in 1973.