SF rounds out coaching staff with historic hire

Assistant coach Alyssa Nakken becomes first woman with role at Major League level

January 16th, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants rounded out new manager Gabe Kapler's coaching staff by adding two Major League assistant coaches on Thursday, including former Sacramento State softball player Alyssa Nakken, who is poised to become the first woman to hold a coaching position on a big league staff.

Mark Hallberg, who managed Class A Salem-Keizer last year, is also joining the Giants, giving them a total of 13 coaches. Nakken and Hallberg seem unlikely to be in uniform during games, as the Giants will be limited to seven coaches in the dugout.

“Alyssa and Mark are highly respected members of the organization and I’m delighted that they will now focus their talents on helping to build a winning culture in the clubhouse,” Kapler said in a statement. “In every organization, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different. That’s why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team.”

The hiring of Nakken is historic, though she was not the only woman considered for a spot on Kapler's staff this offseason. The Giants also interviewed Rachel Balkovec, who was hired by the Yankees to serve as a Minor League hitting coach in November.

Nakken earned a master's degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco after graduating from Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference first baseman and a four-time Academic All-American. Nakken joined the Giants in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department and currently oversees the organization's health and wellness initiatives. She has previously worked on projects relating to the amateur Draft, international operations and player development.

Hallberg, 34, played with Buster Posey at Florida State and was a ninth-round Draft pick of the D-backs in 2007. A former infielder, Hallberg played in the Minors for five seasons before beginning his coaching career in the Cape Cod League. He joined the Giants' organization in '18 as a fundamentals coach and holds a master's degree in business administration, as well as a Bachelor of Science in health and human performance.