Former AD David Riggins Dies at 71

David Riggins in 2019.

David Riggins, the retired long-time Director of Athletics at Mars Hill University, died Wednesday, April 19, 2023, following a period of declining health. He was 71.

Riggins began his 32-year career at Mars Hill in 1986, when he became the Lions head men’s basketball coach. Over his 13 years as coach, Riggins compiled a 184-179 record, and is the winningest men’s basketball coach in school history.

He ac­cumulated 431 victories during his combined 23-year career as a head high school and collegiate coach. His high school teams collected eight conference championships and three state championships while making nine playoff appearances. He guided his Mars Hill teams to three post-season appearances, including the 1994 SAC Championship title. He was named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year in 1994.

He was named assistant athletics director in 1993 and in 1998 became the athletics director, a position he held until his 2018 retirement. Riggins was inducted into the Mars Hill Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007 and the SAC Hall of Fame in 2019.

Riggins was actively involved in NCAA committee work, having served on the NCAA Legislative Committee, NCAA Budget and Finance Committee, and the NCAA Playing Rules Committee, and as chair of the NCAA Championships Committee. Riggins served two years as vice chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council. He also served on the NCAA Division II game environments committee. That group initiated its work in July of 2007 with a summit held in Washington D.C. which Riggins chaired. He also chaired the NCAA task force regarding NCAA Division II eligibility issues.

Upon his retirement, the playing surface in Stanford Arena in Chambers Gymnasium was named in his honor as the David Riggins Court. In 2019 the South Atlantic Conference established the David Riggins Service Award, which is presented annually to an administrator from a member school who shows outstanding service to the SAC.

Riggins played basketball in college at Francis Marion University before receiving both his bachelor’s and mas­ter’s degrees from the University of South Carolina.

Riggins is survived by his wife, Rita, and sons Chase and Kyle and their families.