After leading San Francisco to the second West Coast Conference Championship and NCAA Regional berth in program history, head coach Nino Giarratano earned a six-year contract extension to remain on the Hilltop as announced today by Director of Athletics Scott Sidwell.
“The work and the passion Nino and his staff have put into Dons Baseball are nothing short of remarkable,” Sidwell said. “USF has emerged as a consistent threat in the West Coast Conference and have turned in record-setting seasons on the diamond, in the classroom and in the community. We are pleased to keep Nino and his staff on the Hilltop, representing the Green and Gold for years to come. We are committed to helping Nino and the baseball program emerge as a national power and advance to the College World Series.”
San Francisco marched to the program’s second WCC Championship last season and led the league from wire-to-wire after defeating Gonzaga in the final game of the regular season. The Diamond Dons earned the automatic berth into the Los Angeles Regional where it defeated Regional host UCLA and the eventual No. 1 pick in the 2011 Major League Amateur Draft Gerrit Cole 3-0 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
“I’m humbled and I’m glad someone wants me to coach,” Giarratano said. “I am really proud of where we are going with the program and where we’ve come with the program and how much we can do to improve the program. When you look at a contract extension, you’re always glad to get it and now hopefully we can make the same progress in the next six years that we’ve made in the last 13 years here at USF.”
Following the 2011 season, Giarratano earned his third WCC Coach of the Year honor after also being recognized by his peers in 2005 and 2006. Ten Dons earned postseason All-WCC honors for their performance on the diamond and nine garnered WCC All-Academic accolades.
Preparing for his 14th season as the Dons head coach, Giarratano owns a 368-370 record at USF and is just six victories shy of passing Legend of the Hilltop Dante Benedetti for the most wins in program history. Giarratano currently ranks eighth among WCC leaders in overall coaching triumphs and is seventh in career league wins with 169.
Since his arrival on the Hilltop, San Francisco baseball has posted four 30-plus victory seasons for a program that enjoyed just two campaigns with more than 30 wins in nearly a century. Since 2005, USF has posted an overall slate of 223-176 (.559) and has gone 94-62 (.603) during league play.
Giarratano guided San Francisco baseball to the program’s first NCAA Regional berth in 2006 after capturing the club’s inaugural WCC Championship. During their storied run, the Dons set program records for wins (39) and road victories (19), and three players were selected in the 2006 Major League Amateur Draft.
Since Giarratano’s tenure began at San Francisco, 18 players have been drafted, including five in the first three rounds of the Major League Amateur Draft. Three Diamond Dons have made their Major League debuts – Scott Cousins (Florida Marlins), Jesse Foppert (San Francisco Giants) and Aaron Poreda (Chicago White Sox).
“San Francisco is the greatest city in the world,” Giarratano said. “The university, the academics, the characteristics, the moral standards, the work of the people and the thread of the university and what it means to the city mean so much. It is an amazing place to raise a family from a cultural standpoint. My kids’ friends are here, my wife’s friends are here and my friends are here. The university has continued to make this progress to be one of the premier universities in the country.”
Prior to coming to USF, Giarratano spent two seasons serving as an assistant coach at Arizona State under head coach Pat Murphy. Giarratano served as hitting instructor, offensive coordinator and third base coach for the Sun Devils. During his final season in Tempe, Giarratano helped ASU reach the 1998 College World Series Championship game and constructed a staggering offense. Giarratano also served as recruiting coordinator for Arizona State, and the 1996 class was ranked third in the country by Baseball America, while the 1997 class was rated second.
Giarratano also enjoyed a wealth of success as a head coach in the junior college ranks, earning Collegiate Baseball’s National Junior College Coach of the Year on three occasions while at Trinidad State Junior College from 1989-94. He led the Trojans to five College World Series appearances in six years posting a 233-86 (.730) record. In between stints at Trinidad State and Arizona State, Giarratano spent two seasons (1995-96) as the head coach at Yavapai Community College in Prescott, Ariz. He posted a 77-36 (.681) record at Yavapai in just two seasons and sent 25 players into the professional ranks. Giarratano’s overall record as a junior college head coach was a sparkling 310-122 (.718).