New Dons in the Dugout

Players line up postgame at Benedetti Diamond on the Hilltop. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS

After more than six months of a nationwide search, the USF men’s baseball team finalized its staff for the 2022-23 season on Sept. 12, led by new head coach Rob DiToma. 

In addition to DiToma, who was announced as head coach on June 15, the Dons added an array of coaches from across the country, including new assistant coaches Erik Supplee, from Columbia University, and Kyle Hunt from the University of Nevada, Reno. The team’s former director of operations, Kyle Coburn, will now serve as the team’s volunteer assistant coach, and taking his former position will be Ryan Gaynor from George Washington University.

These appointments come following a report released by the SF Chronicle in March of 2022 detailing the experiences of three former USF baseball players who sued former head coach Nino Giarratano and former assistant coach Troy Nakamura for “persistent psychological abuse and repeated inappropriate sexual conduct,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also claimed that USF was aware of these coaches’ behavior and that the National Collegiate Athletic Association failed to “implement any rules prohibiting sexual harassment.”

DiToma’s new coaching staff is led by Supplee, who served as the pitching coach at Columbia University for seven seasons, where his staff guided the team to multiple Ivy League crowns. This past season, Columbia advanced to the Blacksburg Regional final in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, which included knocking off WCC champion Gonzaga Bulldogs twice. 

DiToma spoke highly of his new assistant coach. “Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the development of pitchers that he has coached at his various stops.”

Hunt was hired as a volunteer assistant coach in 2019 at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2021, Hunt helped Nevada capture their third Mountain West regular season championship and their first since the 2018 season. Due to the conference tournament not being held in 2021, Nevada also earned the league’s automatic bid to NCAA Regionals, the program’s first trip to regionals since 2000 and its fifth trip overall in program history. 

“As I began the search for my staff, one name that kept being recommended to me repeatedly by coaches who I respect, was Kyle Hunt,” said DiToma. “Kyle oversaw the offensive side of the ball at the University of Nevada and will bring excitement and energy to our program. His knowledge of the West Coast will also be extremely valuable in the recruiting process for us.” 

Coburn’s appointment comes as he enters his second year on the Hilltop. In his first season with the Dons, he held the title of director of baseball operations and was responsible for coordinating team travel, budget planning, on-campus recruiting, and the day-to-day operations of the baseball program. “From the day I was hired, [Coburn] has been extremely helpful to me in every single aspect of  the process of trying to get the program back up and running. He has shown loyalty to the direction we are headed and I am extremely excited for his role to grow here in the program,” DiToma said.

Gaynor comes to the Hilltop after serving as a volunteer assistant coach at George Washington in 2021. Before George Washington, he spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, four of which were as the head of the player development program. With the Pirates, his responsibilities included data and video collection to aid advanced scouting,player acquisition, coaching, and evaluation. DiToma said, “Ryan is very knowledgeable of important elements of a successful Division I baseball program both on and off the field. He came highly recommended from George Washington University, and we will all benefit from what Ryan will bring to our program.”

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