Former professional pitcher and Major League Baseball scout Matt Taylor was named the pitching coach on the Georgia State baseball staff in August 2019.
Taylor comes to GSU after spending the last two seasons working in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a scouting assistant and then area supervisor. In the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Pirates drafted six players from his Georgia/South Carolina territory, more than any other scout.
Before joining the Pirates organization, Taylor spent one season (2017) in player development with the Baltimore Orioles, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.
“Matt played at a high level, and he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, both from his playing career and his time in scouting and the front office,” Georgia State head coach Brad Stromdahl said. “I’m excited to watch him develop our pitchers.”
A left-handed pitcher, Taylor played seven seasons in the Orioles system. Among his pro ball highlights, he was the 2013 Delmarva Shorebirds Mountaire Player of the Year and a 2014 Carolina League All-Star. He also played one winter (2015) with the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League.
During his playing career, Taylor worked with Unlimited Potential Inc., a Christian baseball organization, conducting camps in Guatemala and assisting with the Guatemala Junior National Baseball Team.
A native of Columbus, Ga., Taylor was a prep All-American and Georgia Player of the Year at Columbus High School in 2009 and was drafted by the Pirates but did not sign. He played one season at Alabama (2010), helping the Crimson Tide reach the NCAA Super Regional round, and one season at Middle Georgia College (2011), where he earned all-conference honors.
Taylor earned his degree in sociology from Columbus State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2017.
Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Daniel Furuto, formerly an assistant coach at Abilene Christian, joins the Georgia State baseball staff as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
In his one season at Abilene Christian, Furuto coached the outfield, taught base running and assisted in running the offense while helping the program record its highest win total at the Division I level and set 13 school records. The Wildcats boasted the Southland Conference Player off the Year in All-America catcher Luis Trevino, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Furuto went to Abilene Christian in the summer of 2018 after four seasons at the University of Montevallo (2015-18). He joined that program as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator and was elevated to associate head coach for his final two seasons there.
He helped Montevallo to a No. 20 final ranking in 2018. In both 2016 and 2017, the Falcons finished in the top 15 in Division II in scoring and home runs. Six UM players signed professional contracts, including two Major League Baseball draft picks, during his stint.
“Daniel has experience at multiple levels, and he brings a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work attitude,” Georgia State head coach Brad Stromdahl said. “He has worked with productive offensive teams throughout his career, and he has strong recruiting ties across the Southeast and in Texas.”
Furuto’s first college coaching position was at Campbell, where he served as the volunteer assistant coach for two seasons (2011-12). In 2012, he was part of the Campbell team that posted a 41-18 record, the NCAA’s biggest turnaround in wins from the previous season.
During his time there, he worked with one All-America player, four all-conference selections, one CoSIDA Academic American and four individuals who went on to sign professional contracts, including future Major Leaguers Matt Marksberry and Jake Smith.
From there, he moved to Union College as a graduate assistant in 2013 and then was elevated to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the 2014 season. He also served as the academic coordinator and strength and conditioning coach for the NAIA program.
Furuto began his coaching career at Briarwood Christian School in 2008, serving as the head junior varsity coach and varsity assistant coach for two seasons.
He spent three summers with the Lima Locas of the Great Lake Collegiate Summer League, serving as assistant coach (2009), associate head coach (2010) and then head coach (2012).
Furuto was a four-year starter and two-time all-conference selection at Montevallo, finishing with a .330 career batting average. He led the Falcons to the 2006 NCAA Division II World Series and a No. 3 national ranking and was the Most Valuable Player of the South Central Regional Championship.
Furuto earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in kinesiology from Montevallo in 2008, and he added a master’s in educational leadership from Union College in 2014.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Director of Baseball Operations
Dean Sando has been named Director of Baseball Operations for head coach Brad Stromdahl’s first Georgia State staff.
Sando has 10 years of coaching and administrative experience that spans the high school, prep school junior college, collegiate and professional levels, highlighted by one season in the NBA.
He comes to Georgia State after two years as the program director and head men’s basketball coach at Combine Academy Basketball in Lincolnton, N.C. He oversaw the basketball operations while serving as the head coach of the Academy national team.
Sando spent the 2015-16 season as an assistant player development coach with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He assisted with individual and group workouts as well as advanced analytics and video breakdowns.
“Dean is a perfect fit for this position because of his experience in operations as well as player development and analytics,” Stromdahl said. “He will help us as coaches do our jobs better and support our student-athletes.”
Sando previously served one season (2014-15) at the Lakeside School as the head varsity and junior varsity basketball coach and technology coordinator and two seasons (2013-14) as a graduate assistant basketball coach at Columbus State.
Sando’s first coaching experience came as a volunteer assistant basketball coach at Chattahoochee Tech (2010-11). He then served as the head junior varsity coach and varsity assistant at Excel Christian Academy for the 2011-12 season.
Sando is a 2012 graduate of Kennesaw State with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.