By Vincenzo Castronovo
After a very successful coaching career for the baseball program at Bryant University, head coach Steve Owens, along with assistant coaches Kyle Pettoruto and Brendan Monaghan, departed for Rutgers University. This departure was shocking for the entire Bryant community, due to the major positive impact that he left on the university and his players. Owens was the head coach of the Bryant University baseball team from 2011 to 2019, leading them to three NCAA regional playoff appearances in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
However, on June 26, 2019 the Sauquoit, New York native decided to start a new chapter in his career. While shocking for the community, the decision was especially dramatic for his now former players that he will be leaving behind in Smithfield. Sophomore infielder Jake Gustin described the feeling as “shocking.” Gustin was not the only one with this surreal feeling, as senior James Ciliento exclaimed, “I felt betrayed and completely shocked.” These feelings were mutual throughout the team.
After the news, the athletic department began the search to bring together a new coaching staff quickly as the team would be back on campus in a few short months. Bill Smith, the Athletic Director of Bryant University, gathered a search committee and with their help began to determine the qualities they were looking for in a new coach. Many candidates were vying for this job, making the decision difficult, however, after a long search they announced Ryan Klosterman as the new head coach of Bryant University’s Baseball team on July 29, 2019.
Klosterman comes to Bryant from the University of Central Florida where he served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for eight years. Before beginning his coaching career, Klosterman played collegiately for two years at Clemson before transferring to Vanderbilt to complete his final two years of eligibility. In his junior season at Vanderbilt, Klosterman earned a variety of post-season honors such as being named to the All-SEC team as a shortstop as well as being voted his team’s Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. After his collegiate career, Klosterman spent eight years playing professional baseball for a variety of different minor league teams after he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball draft. After his professional career concluded in 2011, he began his coaching career at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and spent the next eight seasons with UCF in the aforementioned positions.
After his eight seasons with UCF, Klosterman has become the tenth head baseball coach in Bryant Bulldog‘s history. Joining Klosterman will be Eric Pelletier from Marist College and Theodore Hurvul from Fairfield University. After learning the news, Bryant’s baseball team was overjoyed. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Matt Woods said, “It was relieving to know that we were in good hands, we wanted to get back on campus and get to work as soon as we found out.”
I got together with head coach Klosterman to discuss his expectations for the upcoming 2020 season and this is what he had to say. “My expectations are for us to play our best baseball late in the season. We have very talented guys, and we plan to allow them to grow through the first month of the season without burning them out so they can be their best late in the season.”
Klosterman also specifically highlighted their offensive game plan and player development as things to focus on, “We plan on scoring a lot runs with our baserunning system. We have the threat of the long ball. A new staff, new culture, we are trying to find our identity through the course of the season through our successes and our failures. We have a group of hard workers with experience. We may have lost key pieces last year, but the growth of the sophomore class, in particular, is something to keep an eye on. A lot of guys who did not get much time last year will have chances to make a major impact for the 2020 season. I am very excited to see our dawgs go to work!”