The Clemson Family runs far beyond softball for Rittman

The Clemson Family runs far beyond softball for Rittman


The Clemson Family runs far beyond softball for Rittman


The life of an athlete runs deep for Clemson softball head coach John Rittman and his family.

The fourth-year head coach spoke with D1Softball earlier this month and detailed both his own journey to Clemson and what Rittman described as an “interesting” intersection between his new Clemson family and the programs the rest of the Rittman family have each taken their talents to.

“I’m very blessed to have a family that supports me,” Rittman said in a podcast interview with D1Softball. “But also, to have two sons that have been so successful in their college life in getting their degrees and now working out in the real world.”

Rittman and his wife, Lorie, both had their own respective careers at the collegiate level in both baseball and softball — Rittman playing three seasons as an outfielder for New Mexico State’s baseball program after transferring from Yavapai Junior College, and Lorie playing softball at the University of Oklahoma.

Rittman’s two sons also decided to take their talents to the college level, but in a completely different sport. Justin Rittman and Jake Rittman both played college football for UCLA and Notre Dame, respectively. Justin played four seasons at the fullback position for the Bruins from 2014-17 while Jake was a punter for the Fighting Irish from 2018-21.

So, when Rittman took the head coaching job at Clemson in November of 2017, it made for an interesting meeting between the two ACC schools for the family of four. Just one year after being named the inaugural coach for the Tigers’ softball program, a No. 2 Clemson team was set to face Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl — an occurrence that would happen two more times in his son’s four years with the Fighting Irish football program.

“It was pretty interesting when my son [Jake] was at Notre Dame,” Rittman said. “They ended up playing Clemson three times in his four years there — one for the CFP playoffs in Dallas and another one during the COVID year when Notre Dame joined the ACC for the regular season and then for the ACC Championship later that year.”

While the divided loyalties proved to make for an interesting experience for Rittman and his family, the head coach wouldn’t trade it for the world and is thankful for the unwavering support of both his own family and the Clemson Family.

“Definitely when either one of our schools are playing each other or playing Clemson now, certainly it makes things interesting,” he said, “but they all love Clemson softball, and they support us.”

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