After serving for 10 years as Pitt’s head softball coach, Holly Aprile has resigned and accepted the same position at Louisville, according to an announcement from the university on Sunday. The news comes two months after Aprile was named the 2018 ACC Softball Coach of the Year.
Prior to taking over as head coach in July 2008, Aprile was an assistant at Pitt for five years under Michelle Phalen, the program’s first head coach.
”I’m extremely thankful to the University of Pittsburgh for the opportunity they’ve given me to be a part of this program over the last 15 years and lead it for the past 10,” Aprile said in a statement. “I am so grateful for all of the support I received throughout my years, not only from the administration at Pitt, but the entire city of Pittsburgh and nationwide as well.
”I’ve had the honor to work with some of the most amazing student-athletes during my time at Pitt, especially during this past season. I was truly blessed to be around one of the best groups of young women that I have ever had the honor of coaching and am extremely proud of them and their accomplishments. I know they will continue to lead this program to great heights.”
During her tenure with the Panthers, Aprile coached the team to an overall record of 271-234. She was also one of few Pitt coaches to successfully navigate the transition from the Big East to the more competitive ACC, as the majority of her accomplishments came after the realignment.
Most recently, she led the Panthers to the ACC championship, where they fell to the Florida State Seminoles in a heartbreaking 5-4 loss. The team was also given its first national ranking under Aprile in 2017 and earned its first NCAA tournament berth in 2015 after a breakout 37-22 season.
However, while Aprile led the program to impressive heights, including three 30-win seasons in the last four years, the program was not without its faults under her guidance.
In 10 seasons under Aprile, the Panthers were only able to accumulate two winning records in conference, including one in the Big East in 2011 and one in the ACC in 2018. Overall, the team has gone 96-130 in conference since 2009, and Aprile’s conference winning percentage dipped from 45 percent in the Big East to 41 percent in the ACC, despite a strong final outing in 2018.
Considering the sweeping changes that have occurred under Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke in recent months, including the dismissals of coaches Suzie McConnell-Serio and Kevin Stallings, it’s not entirely surprising that a coach who struggled to find sustained success in the ACC chose to move on when offered a comparable position that could come with more job security.
As for Lyke, she will now be tasked with replacing a coach coming off one of her best seasons at Pitt, but she sounds optimistic about the process.
“We will now begin a national search for the next leader of the Pitt softball program who can continue, and build upon, our team’s momentum,” she said. “I believe Pitt is a highly attractive opportunity, and we anticipate significant interest from coaches nationwide.”