Head Coach Ross Natoli, in his 32nd 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 16 years and recorded his 600th career win in 2016.
2016 marked the 9th 20+ win season in a row for the Cardinals. The Cards went 20-19 overall and earned several individual and team honors including selections to the All-Landmark 1st and 2nd teams, Academic Honor Roll, and Sportsmanship Team. Senior pitcher Josh Martin garnered the prestigious Jone Dowd CUA Student-Athlete-Leader award at the CUA Senior Athletics banquet.
In 2015, the Cards posted a 27-16-1 record, competed in their 8th consecutive Landmark Conference Tournament and captured their 4th Landmark Conference Championship. They advanced to the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional in York, PA and were led by 1st Team All-Landmark and All-Region performers Stefan Poggioli (outfield) and Joe Salzano (pitcher).
In 2014, the Cards were 21-19 and were led offensively by freshmen catcher Paul Burmester and freshmen outfielder Brett Padula. On the mound seniors Robin Mowatt and Kevin Farley anchored the pitching staff.
In 2013 the Cardinals posted a 26-17 overall record winning the Landmark Conference regular season with an 11-7 mark. Offensively, catcher/1st baseman Chris McCloud, catcher Mark Kalokitis and third baseman Marc Hanna led the way while All-Landmark pitchers Robin Mowatt and closer Chris Nee excelled on the mound.
The 2012 Cards won 24 games, including 11 Landmark Conference victories. Five Cardinals were named First Team All-Landmark. Pitcher Justin D'Alessandro, a senior Architecture major, signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization and is currently playing professional baseball in Australia.
2011 was a season for the ages for Natoli and CUA as the Cardinals captured their third Landmark Conference championship in the previous four years 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 senior Ron Esposito. Individually, the Cardinals placed five players on the All-Landmark Teams and seven scholar-athletes were named to the Landmark 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' team culture reflects his own philosophy that perseverance, 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 excellence. From 2008-2016, the Cardinal’s team grade point average has been 3.0 or higher and at least 14 Cardinals have earned a spot on the Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll each of those years.
A native Washingtonian, Natoli was a standout outfielder at George Washington University, earning his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering in 1981. After playing for two teams that advanced to the ECAC (1977) and NCAA Division I (1979) tournaments, Natoli served as GWU’s top assistant coach from 1981-1984. Natoli became the CUA Cardinals head coach in the fall of 1985, and is widely recognized for founding and directing the Ross Natoli Baseball Camps & Clinics for Washington area youth and college prospects since 1987.
Throughout his career, Natoli has continually upgraded CUA's baseball facilities, which are widely regarded to be among the finest in the East. 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 Athletics Director, Hall of Famer and baseball coach, who in 1977 led the "Cardiac Cardinals" to the NCAA Division I playoffs.
Since 2008, through the generous contributions of CUA alumni and program friends, several significant baseball facility upgrades have come to fruition. These include a newly resurfaced infield provided by the Ripken Design Group, installation of 300 stadium-style chair-back seats for spectators, a modern press box, sound system and professional quality bullpens, and enhancements to both outdoor and indoor batting cages. Natoli feels that the Cardinals’ state-of-the-art playing and practice facilities are among the finest in all of NCAA Division III baseball and provide the Cardinals with the ideal environment to prepare for success.
Natoli and his wife, Nancy, live in Silver Spring, MD. and have three children, twins Rachel and Rebecca (age 24) and son Nicholas (age 21)