Aprile Formally Introduced as Softball Head Coach

From U of L SID

The University of Louisville softball program officially began a new era when Vice-President/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra formally introduced Holly Aprile as the Cardinals’ new head coach in a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s another great day with the athletics program,” said Tyra. “We’re excited for the opportunity to introduce Holly Aprile and really get our softball program back on track to where we want to go. We’ve had some real highs here and really experienced some great runs, got in the top 10 and won a lot of conference championships which are noted on the stadium. We’ve had great All-Americans come through here and all-conference players and Sandy [Pearsall] has been here from day one and she’s guided the program for 19 years. Now we have our second head coach of the program in Holly. She fit the criteria that we had for the position and we’re really excited about her.

Aprile, the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Coach of the Year 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 of all, I am absolutely thrilled to be here,” said Aprile. “The first time I stepped foot on this campus, this was a place where I knew I wanted to be. This is a destination job for me, it is a dream school for me. I want to thank Vince [Tyra] and Amy [Calabrese] for all of their help through the process and their support. I think some of the key reasons that I am just so excited to be here are the tremendous support, the resources, the staff, the wonderful facilities – everything here, to me, says ‘winning.’ I am so excited to be a part of this. I think that there is such a strong winning tradition here that I am going to work to build off of. There are tremendous student-athletes that I am so excited to meet. Meeting the team and getting to know them is priority number one and recruiting is right behind that.”

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.