Johnny Giavotella joins UNO baseball coaching staff

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NEW ORLEANS – One of the most recent Privateers to reach the Major Leagues will be in the home dugout this season as University of New Orleans head coach Blake Dean announced the addition of Johnny Giavotella to the coaching staff. Giavotella will join Dean, assistant coaches Brett Stewart, Rudy Darrow and Dylan Belanger and student assistant Ryan Brewer.

Giavotella recently retired from professional baseball and returns to the Lakefront as a student assistant. He will work with the infield.

“We are excited to have Johnny join our staff as he returns to finish his degree,” said Dean. “His experience as a Privateer and big leaguer is an asset to our team. He will bring a wealth of knowledge that our current players can take advantage of.”

Johnny GiavotellaGiavotella became the 13th Privateer to make it to the show after being drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Kansas City Royals.

Making his MLB debut in 2011 as a second baseman, he collected nine doubles, four triples, two home runs and 21 RBI for the Royals. The following season, he played in 53 games. In 2013 and 2014, he also saw action for the Royals before joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2015 in a breakout season. At 27 years old, Johnny G hit .272 with 25 doubles, five triples, 49 RBI and 123 hits in 129 games (453 at bats) as a middle infielder. The following season, he tallied 20 two-baggers for the Angels.

In 2017, he received 10 at-bats for the Baltimore Orioles.

“It’s a true honor coming back to the university that gave me a fantastic education as well as a baseball career,” said Giavotella. “It jumpstarted my career. While completing my business degree over the next year, I look forward to implementing the knowledge I’ve accrued over 11 professional seasons to the baseball team.”

In the offseason, New Orleans and head baseball coach Blake Dean agreed to a two-year contract extension that will keep Dean on the Lakefront through the 2022 season. Dean guided the Privateers to a 90-86-1 mark in three seasons and back-to-back-to-back Southland Conference tournament appearances. In 2018, New Orleans advanced to the championship game as the No. 8 seed, defeating No. 1 Sam Houston State University and No. 4 Houston Baptist University twice to get to the title game.

The 2018 pitching staff finished 21st in the nation with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings and offensively, UNO collected 21 triples, good for 11th in NCAA Division I. Junior southpaw Bryan Warzek was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers after earning Southland Conference First Team honors. A week after the draft, “Warzie” picked up ABCA and All-LSWA recognition. Kyle Arjona signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in the summer.

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