John Russo is in his seventh season on the Hofstra Baseball staff in 2014-15 and is the 14th head coach in program history. Russo was named head coach of the Hofstra Baseball program on May 6, 2012, after serving as interim head coach since January 2012.
In his three seasons at the helm of the Pride program, Russo has coached the team to a 80-73 record and has seen five players signed by Major League Baseball teams, including two that were drafted. Senior Danny Poma was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in the 10th-round of the 2012 MLB Draft, while junior Bryan Verbitsky was a third round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2013 Draft. In addition, junior Matt Reistetter and 2012 graduate Kevin Flynn signed with the Washington Nationals organization as free agents in 2013, while 2014 graduate Matt Ford was a free agent signee with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
The Pride are coming off a 20-win season in 2014, a year that saw Ford win the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year Award for the second time in three seasons.
Hofstra won 26 games in 2013, tying for the third most victories in program history. The Pride pitching staff set a new team record for strikeouts with 365 and junior Brett Schreiber's 2.48 ERA set a new single season benchmark.
Former major league pitcher and Long Island native John Habyan has joined the Pride coaching staff as pitching coach. Habyan, who was named to the position on July 6, 2015, comes to Hofstra after 17 seasons as head varsity baseball coach at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, New York.
Habyan, a third round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1982 MLB Draft, played 11 major league seasons for the Orioles, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies between 1985 and 1996. A relief pitcher who appeared in 348 games, Habyan won 26 contests, struck out 372 batters and compiled a 3.85 ERA.
Following his retirement from professional baseball, Habyan returned to his alma mater, St. John the Baptist High School, to serve as assistant varsity baseball coach. In 1998 he took over the reins of the Cougar program and continued St. John's tradition of success. A five-time Nassau Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year, Habyan led the Cougars to league titles in 2002, 2008, 2013 and 2014. This past season he coached St. John's to an 18-6 record and a second place finish in the league standings. He also served as a physical education teacher at St. John's from 2008 through 2012.
Tyler Kavanaugh is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Hofstra Baseball program. Kavanaugh joins the Pride staff after spending the past two seasons at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
During his tenure at Marist, Kavanaugh was the Red Foxes hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. He mentored four All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference performers including Steve Laurino, a 25th round draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2015 MLB Draft. One of his recruits for Marist for the 2015-16 academic year, Nick Fanti, was also drafted this past June and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Kavanaugh's recruiting and coaching helped pay immediate dividends for Marist as the team won a postseason game in the MAAC Championship for the first time since 2009 this past season.
Prior to his position at Marist, Kavanaugh served on the Sacred Heart University baseball staff for the three years. His responsibilities included working with the Pioneers' hitters, catchers, and outfielders, as well as overseeing the Pioneers' recruiting efforts. Sacred Heart won back-to-back Northeast Conference championships and advanced to the NCAA Regional Tournament in 2011 and 2012. The 2011 team set the school record with 34 victories while the offense led the conference with a .308 batting average, which ranked 20th in the nation. In 2013 one of his players, John Murphy, was a sixth round selection by the New York Yankees in the MLB Draft.