Story at a glance

  • Alyssa Nakken was promoted to assistant coach in the San Francisco Giants franchise, making her the first female full-time assistant in Major League Baseball history.
  • A former star collegiate softball player, Nakken previously focused on health and wellness initiatives.
  • Nakken has been with the Giants since 2014.

The San Francisco Giants have made history by hiring the first full-time female assistant coach to their staff.

Alyssa Nakken, a former softball player at Sacramento State from 2009 to 2012, was hired by Manager Gabe Kapler. She began her career as an intern for the Major League team in 2014, working in operations. At Sacramento State, Nakken is a three-time all-conference player and four-time Academic All-American. She later earned her masters degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco. 

Along with Mark Halberg, Nakken was hired to “focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team,” per the official Giants press release

Speaking with ESPN, Kapler elaborated on the decision to promote Nakken, saying “Simply, I think she’s going to be a great coach” and that she has worked on “developing, producing, and directing a number of the organization’s health and wellness initiatives and events.”

Nakken was not the only woman in talks to take on a coaching position; the Giants staff reportedly considered Rachel Balkovec for the role as well. Balkovec now works with the Yankees as a Minor League hitting coach. 

This groundbreaking hiring decision is in contrast to the past criticism of Kapler’s handling of a sexual assault allegation against Dodgers minor league players in 2015, when he failed to report the alleged assault to police. 

Nakken’s success follows in the footsteps of Justine Siegal, the first woman to coach a professional men’s baseball team, the Oakland Athletics. She coached part-time in 2015. 

 

Published on Jan 17, 2020