As a child, Mike Rikard ’94 was obsessed with baseball cards, spending countless hours assessing players and debating with friends.
Much has changed over the years for Rikard, now VP of Amateur Scouting for the Boston Red Sox. But his love for the game and his fascination with ranking and prioritizing players remain constant.
“I’ve always enjoyed making player comparisons, and that’s a great deal of the job,” he says. “One day, you’re seeing a college player in California, and the next day you’re scouting a high schooler in Atlanta. In the end, you rank them.”
His baseball career started at UNCG in 1991 – the very first year of the University’s baseball program. By his senior year, the Spartans were Big South Conference champions and capped off the historic season with two big wins in the NCAA Tournament.
From there, the exercise and sports science major and former shortstop coached at Wake Forest, and in 2000 he was offered his first scouting job with the San Diego Padres.
Rikard has won three World Series since joining the Red Sox in 2004. Last year was special because so many key players on the field were guys that Rikard himself scouted – such as 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts.
Finding elite players is a 24/7 job. Rikard manages a staff of more than 20 people, and he is constantly on the road. It’s a challenging career that requires the discipline he honed as a student-athlete at UNCG.
“Scouting is like a game. We’re competing – we’re getting up every day and we’re trying to beat the competition. It’s something I’m really passionate about and enjoy.”
This story originally appeared in UNCG Magazine. To read more stories about UNCG alumni making an impact, visit alumnimagazine.uncg.edu.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography courtesy of Mike Rikard