USF Fires Baseball Coach Over Alleged Abuse

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The University of San Francisco has fired head baseball coach Nino Giarratano just days after he was accused in a lawsuit of psychological abuse and allowing inappropriate sexual conduct by other coaches during team activities. 

Giarratano’s firing was announced Sunday, just two days after class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court. USF had previously suspended and then later fired assistant baseball coach Troy Nakamura, according to ESPN.

USF athletic director Joan McDermott said new allegations revealed in the lawsuit were part of the reason for Giarratano’s firing, but also said that he had allowed Nakamura on the field just 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."

Three former players, identified as John Does in the lawsuit, described instances of abuse in the lawsuit, saying it was normal to see Nakamura naked on the field or in a window, swinging his penis in a helicopter fashion while the entire team watched. 

The three John Does describe other abuse, including threats of violence from Giarratano, extreme emotional and verbal abuse. 

The lawsuit also alleges that USF failed to “prohibit sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse of student-athletes by athletics department personnel.”

A number of players on the team have also allegedly become suicidal as a result of the abuse they suffered while on the team.

"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."

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