Riles steps down as Mayo softball coach

After 21 seasons as the head softball coach at Mayo, Steve Riles has decided to step down from the position.

Clint Thome, Mayo's varsity assistant, will take over for Riles as the head coach this spring.

"My son's a freshman in high school so I'm going to watch him play a little baseball," Riles said. "It's a dad thing; it's something you have to do."

Riles guided the Spartans to more than 330 victories in his 21 seasons and to a pair of section titles and state berths. Mayo also finished as the section runner-up four times under Riles, including the last two seasons when they went a combined 36-13.

"I feel good about the fact that we've built a good program and have built a nice facility," Riles said.


Thome has been part of the program in recent years. He's worked his way up the ladder, starting as a freshman coach, then junior varsity coach and finally varsity assistant.

"It's real exciting," Thome said. "I've been with the Mayo program since 2004. I knew the head coaching position was coming up, I just didn't know when."

Thome is also an assistant varsity football coach at Mayo. The 31-year-old is a native of Sioux Falls, S.D., and a graduate of the University of South Dakota. He was also a member of the Rochester Community and Technical College football coaching staff in 2006 and '07.

"I feel real comfortable with him coming in," Riles said. "He'll do a good job."

"Steve did a good job and I learned a lot from him," Thome said. "I'm going to do some things different, but we're different people. But we're also going to keep a lot of the same systems (in place) because we've been successful."

Riles, who turned 60 in December, said he will miss working with the players and parents.

"I'll miss the practices more than anything," he said.

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