Matthew Riggins was born in Milan, Tennessee. His family moved several times until finally settling in Fayetteville, Tennessee where Matthew was raised. He is a 1976 graduate of Central High School in Fayetteville, Tennessee and attended Vanderbilt University before transferring and graduating from the University of Mississippi with a BA in biology and chemistry in 1980. He attended graduate school as a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of Mississippi prior to enrolling as a student at St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. It was during this time that he was fortunate enough to perform clinical work in England where he met his wife Sara in 1985. He obtained his M.D. in June 1986. A residency in family medicine through the East Tennessee State University Kingsport program followed where he served as chief resident in his final year. Matthew and Sara were married in April 1987 and upon completion of residency moved to Pennsylvania for a while. Returning to the Tri-Cities in 1991 Matt began his career as an emergency physician at a hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee, a position from which he retired in March 2020 after 29 years.
Matthew learned a considerable amount from Sara prior to her passing in August 2017 about the horse industry and has continued her legacy as owner of Hawley Farm Stables. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, TN and is program medical director for the Northeast State Community College paramedic program. In his spare time he enjoys tinkering at the barn as well as woodworking and working with computer systems. Since retiring he has spent more time in these endeavors as well as spending time with his partner, Melanie, and son, Ian who is a plant supervisor in Greenville, SC.