Tom Riginos had just started speaking at Wednesday's press conference in the Eagle Club Room inside the Winthrop Coliseum when a cell phone ringtone belted out the Clemson Tigers' fight song.
The timing of the call helped Winthrop's new head baseball coach compose himself.
Riginos, 42, was emotional as he spoke about the opportunities he has been given in his coaching career. He thanked former Eastern Kentucky coach Jim Ward, Stetson coach Pete Dunn and Clemson coach Jack Leggett.
Those three coaches have won a combined 3,209 baseball games.
Ward gave Riginos his start as a graduate assistant at the age of 22. Riginos played four years for Dunn at Stetson and later coached another nine seasons with him. He became the Hatters' recruiting coordinator at the age of 24. Riginos spent the past seven seasons at Clemson with Leggett.
Riginos paused and stepped away from the media microphones for several seconds before commenting on Leggett.
"Whew, what a great guy," he said. "He is a lifelong friend and like a father to me. He taught me a lot. He put the blueprint together. Other assistants have learned from him and have been successful as head coaches. He has shown me it isn't just X's and O's as a head coach."
Three former Clemson assistants have gone on to lead Southeastern Conference programs; Tim Corbin (Vanderbilt), Kevin O'Sullivan (Florida) and John Pawlowski (Auburn).
Riginos said he has had opportunities to move on from Clemson each of the past three years. He accepted the Winthrop job because it was a good fit.
The coach said he and his family liked the Winthrop campus and Rock Hill when they visited July 25, before he was to interview for the job. They drove through campus and ate lunch downtown.
"It just felt right," he said. "My roots are at Stetson. This is just like Stetson."
The DeLand, Fla., school, like Winthrop, has no football program -- seemingly a key factor in Riginos' hiring, since he has experience recruiting at a non-football school.
Riginos and his wife, Shalleen, have 9-year-old twin daughters, Alexandra and Grace, and a 14-month-old son, Chatham. Riginos also has a 22-year-old son, Ben Paulsen, who played baseball at Clemson. The first baseman is now in the Colorado Rockies' organization with the Class A Modesto Nuts.
Riginos has been busy getting to know his new team. He said he has talked to a majority of Winthrop's players by phone.
"There is an energy," he said. "They are excited and ready for a change."
The Eagles new coach likes what he has seen and heard so far.
"Coaches go into some programs with the cupboards bare," he said. "They are not bare here."
Winthrop returns seven of nine position starters and nine of 11 pitchers, including three weekend hurlers, the closer and some talented transfers.
"I know it is going to be a power here," Riginos said.
"I will institute my program from Day 1. I will put my mark on this program with hustle and competition every day."
Riginos will be paid $100,000 a year, Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman said. A contract has not been finalized.
Mike McGuire will remain on the staff as the team's hitting coach. Jeff Stanek also will stay as an assistant coach.
Riginos has talked to Stetson assistant coach Clint Chrysler about taking the vacant Winthrop pitching coach position. An announcement on Chrysler could come in the next few days. Kyle DiEduardo resigned at the end of the 2010 season to pursue a career outside baseball after eight seasons as an assistant coach for the Eagles.
Riginos has a lot of contacts through his 18 years of coaching college baseball. An easy connect was with Clemson.
He has already started talking about a Winthrop/Clemson game for the 2012 season.
"I am not here to build a team," Riginos said. "I'm building a program."