University of San Francisco fires baseball coach Nino Giarratano after lawsuit

The University of San Francisco has fired baseball coach Nino Giarratano, who has been accused of “persistent psychological abuse and repeated inappropriate sexual conduct” in a recent class-action lawsuit.

The school announced Giarratano’s firing Sunday, two days after the lawsuit was filed in US District Court. USF previously had suspended Giarratano and former assistant coach Troy Nakamura, who also was named in the lawsuit. Nakamura was fired in January.

USF athletic director Joan McDermott cited “new allegations” from the lawsuit and also said in a statement that Giarratano allowed Nakamura on the field this past week.

“When the university first became aware of the complaints by students and families about the environment and behavior of coaches in the baseball program, we immediately conducted an internal investigation that led to the firing of Troy Nakamura and official reprimand of Nino Giarratano,” McDermott said in a statement released by the school.

“The new allegations in the lawsuit as well as Giarratano’s recent behavior in allowing Nakamura access to baseball operations is extremely concerning. As a result, we have taken actions to make changes in baseball program leadership.”

The three former players, identified as John Does in the lawsuit, described varying forms of abuse and described a culture in which “it was ‘normal’ to see [former assistant coach Troy Nakamura] naked on the field or in a window, swinging his penis in a helicopter fashion while the entire team — and [Giarratano] — watched.”

John Doe 1 alleges that Giarratano referred to him using several expletives and repeatedly berated him in an attempt to pressure him to leave the program (he had a significant four-year guaranteed scholarship). He entered the transfer portal in January.

John Doe 2 outlined a pattern of verbal and emotional abuse that resulted in five emergency room visits in the fall of 2021, which contributed to his decision to leave the program.

John Doe 3 said Giarratano told him he was a waste of space, that none of his teammates or coaches liked him and said, “I wish I could take my bat and hit your head as hard as I can and maybe I can get your brain to work,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the NCAA and USF breached their contractual obligations, as outlined in the NCAA Division I Manual, on numerous grounds, including a failure to “prohibit sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse of student-athletes by athletics department personnel.”

The lawsuit also alleges multiple players have become suicidal as a result of Giarratano’s and Nakamura’s behavior, but it does not provide any additional context.

“The safety and well-being of our students is USF’s highest priority,” the Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, the university president, said Sunday in a statement. “We apologize to current and former students who have been affected. We have reopened our internal investigation, and encourage anyone with information to share their experiences with the Title IX office or to the anonymous whistleblower hotline.”

ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura contributed to this report.

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