Holly Aprile Named Softball Coach

Holly Aprile, the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Coach of the Year, has been named the head softball coach at the University of Louisville, UofL Vice-President/Director Athletics Vince Tyra announced on Monday.

Aprile will be formally introduced at a press conference to be announced at a later date.

“We are excited to welcome Holly Aprile to the Louisville family as our new softball coach,” said Tyra. “Over the last 19 years, our program has grown and achieved great success and I am confident that Holly will take us to the next level. She is well-respected in the softball community as a talented coach with tremendous integrity and a strong work ethic. She has a passion for developing student-athletes on and off the field and we look forward to having her lead our program.”

Aprile becomes just the second head coach in the history of UofL softball following the retirement of Sandy Pearsall who started the program in 2000.

“First, I have tremendous respect for Sandy Pearsall and the program that she built,” said Aprile. “There is a strong tradition of winning at Louisville and I am honored to become a part of it.  I have competed against UofL both in the Big East and in the ACC, and there have been some extremely talented student-athletes that have come through the program.  My goal is to build upon the solid foundation that is here and elevate it to new heights.  I want to win championships and I know that the administration, Vince [Tyra] and Amy [Calabrese] are firmly committed to that as well. The facilities are first-class, the resources are tremendous, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of all that the University of Louisville has to offer.”

Aprile comes to Louisville from the University of Pittsburgh, where she spent 10 seasons (2009-18) as the Panthers’ head coach and five years (2004-08) as an assistant. This past season, she earned ACC Coach of the Year honors after leading Pitt to the 2018 ACC Coastal Division title and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament where it fell in the championship game to eventual national champion Florida State.

Pittsburgh finished the 2018 campaign with a 33-18-1 overall record, marking the program’s third 30-win season in four years. The Coastal Division champions notched a program-best 16-6 mark in ACC play while winning seven of their eight conference series. During the regular season, the Panthers defeated then-No. 9/13 Florida State 1-0 in Tallahassee, halting the Seminoles’ 36-game ACC win streak and marking Pitt’s first victory over the perennial conference power.

Under Aprile’s direction, Pitt achieved several milestones while making the transition from the BIG EAST Conference to the ACC. In 2015, she guided her team to the championship game of the ACC Tournament for the first time in school history. The Panthers went on to earn their first NCAA bid and advanced to the regional finals. After finishing the season with a program-best 37 wins, Aprile and her assistants garnered National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

While at the helm, Aprile guided Pittsburgh to 271 wins and oversaw 12 NFCA All-Region selections and 13 All-ACC selections, with eight players earning ACC All-Tournament nods. Her teams and players have put up impressive numbers, leading the ACC in fielding percentage (.975) in 2017 and home runs (75), slugging percentage (.552) and doubles (82) in 2016.  In the past four seasons, her teams have continually set school records in wins, hits, batting average, RBI, home runs, runs scored and shutouts.

Aprile’s student-athletes have also been successful in the classroom with 19 NFCA Scholar-Athlete selections and 10 ACC All-Academic honorees. Additionally, her teams achieved perfect scores in the NCAA Public Recognition Awards for Academic Progress Rates in 2017 and 2018.

Before being named the Panthers’ head coach in July 2008, she served as an assistant coach at Pitt for five years, helping the program produce its first winning season in school history and earn its first BIG EAST Conference tournament berth.

Prior to her arrival in Pittsburgh, Aprile was an assistant coach at South Carolina, where she was the recruiting coordinator and assisted in the development of the team’s offense while working specifically with the pitchers and outfielders. During her nine-year stint in Columbia, she helped direct the Gamecocks to five Southeastern Conference titles, five NCAA Regional appearances and a Women’s College World Series appearance in 1997.

Aprile began her coaching career at Eastern Illinois, where she served as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons working primarily with the pitchers and the outfielders.

As a player, Aprile built an impressive resume at the University of Massachusetts, where she was a four-year all-Atlantic 10 selection. As a senior, she was the Most Valuable Player for the Minutewomen softball team that finished third in the 1992 Women’s College World Series and was selected to the WCWS All-Tournament team. That same year, she earned third-team All-America honors. Aprile produced stellar results both as a pitcher and an outfielder, earning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year (1989), Player of Year (1990 and 1991) and Pitcher of the Year (1992).

Aprile was a participant on USA Softball’s national team for seven years (1993-99). During that time, she helped Team USA to gold medals in the Pan-American Qualifiers in 1994 and 1997 and the South Pacific Classic in 1998.

The Afton, N.Y., native earned her bachelor’s in sports management from UMass in 1992 and received her master’s degree in political science from Eastern Illinois in 1995.

Holly Aprile File
Coaching Career
Pittsburgh (Head Coach) | 2009-2018; (271-234/.537)
(Assistant Coach) | 2004-08
• 2018 ACC Coach of the Year
• Guided the Panthers to their first ACC Coastal Division title (2018)
• ACC Championship runner-up (2018, 2015)
• Pittsburgh achieved its first national ranking (2017)
• Guided Pitt to its first NCAA tournament appearance and regional final (2015)
• National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year (2015)
• 12 All-Region selections
• 13 All-ACC honorees
• 8 ACC All-Tournament Team members
• 19 NFCA Scholar-Athletes
• 10 ACC All-Academic selections

South Carolina (Assistant Coach) | 1995-2004
• Helped lead the Gamecocks to five Southeastern Conference Championships
• Assisted with five NCAA Regional appearances, reaching the Women’s College World Series in 1997

Eastern Illinois University (Graduate Assistant) | 1993-1995
• Team compiled 54 wins and a runner-up finish in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament (1994)

Playing Career
UMass (1989-92)
• Inducted into UMass Athletic Hall of Fame (1995)
• Third Team All-American (1992)
• NCAA College World Series All-Tournament Team (1992)
• Atlantic 10 Conference Pitcher of the Year (1992)
• Division I leader in doubles (1991)
• Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year (1990)
• Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year (1989)
• Four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection

USA Softball | 1993-1999
• Helped Team USA to gold medals in the South Pacific Classic (1998) and Pan-Am Qualifiers in Colombia (1997) and Guatemala (1994)

What they are saying about Holly Aprile

“Holly is one of my favorite people in softball and I couldn’t be happier for her and UofL.  She has done it the right way her entire career.  Louisville fans will love her and the product she assembles on the field.”
Patrick Murphy, Head Coach, University of Alabama

“Holly Aprile’s common-sense approach to player development and how people should be treated is a win-win for Louisville. Coach Aprile is a professional in all aspects and she understands the student-athlete part. What a great opportunity for Louisville to take the next step nationally.”
Ken Eriksen, Head Coach, USF/USA Softball

“I was fortunate to coach Holly with the USA National Team on several occasions, each time winning gold medals. She was an amazing five-tool player. She could do it all at the highest level. Holly was always driven to be the best with an amazing work ethic coupled with a true love of the game. We have competed against her as a coach, and see the same energy, drive, and desire in her teams.”
Ralph Weekly, Co-Head Coach University of Tennessee

“Coach Aprile is competitive, knowledgeable, and driven. Her experience as a head coach in the ACC along with her desire to remain a life-long learner will get UofL Softball back to one of the best programs in the nation, competing annually for championships and post-season opportunities.”
Carol Bruggeman – Executive Director, NFCA  

“Holly is a colleague whose drive to compete at the highest level is easily identifiable. She is well prepared to take her program to new heights, and I expect the journey to be an exciting one for Louisville softball.”
Bonnie Tholl – Associate Head Coach, University of Michigan