Head Coach Ross Natoli
Head Coach Ross Natoli, who is in his 30th season at Catholic University, has built the Cardinals into one of the most respected and competitive NCAA Division III programs in the East. He has led CUA to an average of 20 or more victories over the past 14 years and last season picked up his 500th career win on April 7. He enters the 2013 season with 507 wins.
The 2012 Cards won 24 games, including 11 within the Landmark Conference, and qualified for their fifth consecutive conference tournament. CUA once again ranked near the top of the conference in fielding percentage, sitting at No. 2 (.955).
Following the season, five Cardinals were named First Team All-Landmark Conference, including Colin McCarthy, who ranked among the national leaders with an impressive .410 batting average. Another of Natoli's student-athletes, Justin D'Alessandro, signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization in June and is currently in a player developmental league.
2011 was a season for the ages for Natolli and CUA, as the Cardinals captured their third Landmark Conference championship in the last four years (2008, 2009, 2011) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977. CUA won 23 games on the year, and defeated the nation's third ranked team, Kean University, 3-2 in the NCAA Regional opener behind a terrific pitching performance by Ron Esposito '11.
Individually, the Cardinals placed five student-athletes on the All-Landmark Conference Teams, and seven were named to the conference's Academic Honor Roll.
In 2008, the Cardinals won the inaugural Landmark Conference Championship and finished the season with a ten-game winning streak en route to a 26-13-1 overall record. The Cardinals repeated as Landmark Conference Champions in 2009, winning 10 of their last 12 games including an 11-3 victory vs. Merchant Marine Academy in the Landmark Championship. CUA placed six players on the 2009 All-Landmark Conference team, with five Cardinals earning first-team honors.
Under Natoli's direction the Cardinals' on-field personality reflects his own philosophy that perseverance, team unity and a commitment to academic and athletic excellence form the foundation for a successful program. He continues to strive to develop his teams with the goal of being consistent contenders for NCAA tournament play, while emphasizing the importance of academic success in the classroom throughout their careers. 14 members of his 2009 team achieved a cumulative or spring semester grade point average of 3.0 or above and in 2010, 15 Cardinals earned a spot on the Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll.
A native Washingtonian, Natoli was a standout outfielder at cross-town rival George Washington University, from which he earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1981. After playing for two teams that advanced to NCAA Division I tournaments (1977, 1979), Natoli served as the Colonials' top assistant coach from 1981-1984.
Natoli became the Cards' head coach in the fall of 1985, and is widely recognized for founding and directing the highly regarded Ross Natoli Instructional Baseball Camps & Clinics for youth in the Washington metropolitan area.
Throughout his career, Natoli has continually upgraded CUA's baseball facilities, which are widely regarded to be among the finest in the region. State-of-the-art walk-in dugouts, indoor and outdoor batting cages, bullpens, practice pitching mounds and a quality playing surface are among the key facility components that provide an environment conducive to productive practice and exciting games.
In the fall of 2000, Natoli's significant fundraising efforts produced the baseball field's first electronic scoreboard. It coincided with the dedication of Robert J. Talbot Field, named for the former CUA athletic director, Hall of Famer and baseball coach, who in 1977 led the "Cardiac Cardinals" to the NCAA Division I playoffs.
Over the past six years, Natoli has worked closely with the current athletic administration and CUA’s Office of Development in managing the Cardinals Competitive Edge Campaign, a major fundraising initiative designed to considerably upgrade the entire CUA athletic complex.
Through the generous contributions of over 250 alumni, several major baseball facility enhancements have recently come to fruition. These include a newly resurfaced, state-of-the-art infield installed by the Ripken Design Group, 300 stadium-style chair-back seats, a modern press box, sound system, warning track, fencing renovations, full infield tarp, professional quality bullpens and upgraded outdoor batting cages. Natoli feels that the Cardinals’ current playing and practice facilities are among the finest in all of NCAA Division III baseball.
Natoli and his wife, Nancy, live in Silver Spring, Md., with their 17-year-old twin daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, and 15-year-old son, Nicholas.
Assistant Coach Bobby Picardo
Bobby Picardo is in his first year with the CUA Athletic Department, where he serves as an Assistant Equipment and Facility Manager, in addition to an Assistant Coach with the baseball program.
A 2009 graduate of CUA, Picardo arrives in the nation’s capital following a four-year stint with the Trenton Thunder, the Double A affiliate of the New York Yankees. While in Trenton, Picardo served as the manager of the team’s ticket sales and internship program, overseeing a staff of four sales executives and 24 college interns.
Picardo also coordinated the Thunder High School Baseball Series, hosted collegiate showcases and prospect workouts.
During his time with the Thunder, Picardo also served as an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater, Middletown High School South.
Picardo was a four-year member of the CUA baseball program, helping the Cardinals to back-to-back Landmark Conference championships (2008, 2009), and ranking 20th in school history with a .360 batting average in 2007.
Off the field, Picardo was a member of the Dean’s List and Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll, and he served as the President of SAAC (Student Athletes Advisory Committee). He was also part of CUA’s event staff and sports information office during his undergrad days.
Assistant Coach Tyler McCarthy
Tyler McCarthy is in his first year with the Catholic University Baseball Team as a graduate assistant coach, and joins Catholic after graduating from George Washington University in May of 2013.
McCarthy was a four-year starter for George Washington and appeared in 180 games for the Colonials. McCarthy played right field primarily for his first two seasons, before splitting time as a right fielder and RHP during his junior and senior campaigns. His 15-game hitting streak during his senior year is tied for the longest in GW Baseball history. McCarthy served as a captain for the Colonials during his senior season, and helped lead the Colonials to postseason play for the first time since 2006.
While at GW, McCarthy was a member of the Athletic Department’s “Leadership Academy,” who’s primary goals were to foster relationships throughout the department of athletics and provide guidance to younger student-athletes. McCarthy also participated in the ‘Athlete Mentor Program,’ where he served as an outlet and mentor to freshmen student-athletes as they made the transition from high school to collegiate athletics.