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Pitt tabs Jodi Hermanek as new softball coach

Last month, Holly Aprile resigned as Pitt’s softball coach. It didn’t take too long for the Panthers to find a replacement in Jodi Hermanek.

Hermanek comes to Pitt by way of Ohio University, where she coached for ten seasons. She brings some solid credentials to the program as her Ohio team had reached the NCAA Tournament in both 2018 and 2014. While at Ohio, she also won conference tournaments in each of those two seasons and won the regular season conference title this year. Ohio has had 40-win seasons in each of the past two years.

Prior to that, she won a couple of conference titles at Southern Utah and led those teams to NCAA Tournament appearances as well (2006, 2007) in her four seasons there.

And, by the way, Hermanek’s Ohio team beat Pitt this year, 6-1. So there’s that.

Her statement:

“I would like to thank Heather Lyke for this incredible honor to lead the Pitt Panthers,” said Hermanek. “Jennifer Tuscano and the entire search committee have been exceptional throughout this process and have exemplified the shared Gold Standard vision. My family and I are so excited and thankful to be a part of the Pitt family.

”I am a passionate coach. I value student-athlete development and look forward to building a championship culture of family and excellence from day one. I am ready to build upon a program that consists of strong student-athletes who will continue be competitive in the ACC and nationally. I will instill in my athletes that my expectation is that they leave this program better than when they arrived. I look forward to meeting my team, members of the athletic department and Panther nation.”

Hermanek’s work is impressive because she completely rebuilt a pretty bad softball team that had losing seasons in three of the four years before she got there. Now, it’s fair to point out that it took her a little while to get going. She was under .500 as a coach through her first seven years with some good and some bad. In 2014, she went to the NCAA Tournament but the following year, her team was only 15-32.

Things turned around drastically by 2016, though. Ohio was 37-23, then 42-18, then 40-17.

The good news for her is that the Pitt job is not the rebuild job that Ohio was. The Panthers appeared headed to the NCAAs this year until a walkoff home run in the ACC title game sent them packing. They also made the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and have not been under .500 since 2014. Aprile did a nice job of getting things headed in the right direction so Hermanek will benefit there. She will, obviously, be entering a tougher conference but will have more tools at her disposal, too.

Something that shouldn’t be overlooked are her four conference tournaments. That sort of stuff is always impressive because it shows she’s got some experience prepping teams on short notice and getting them ready to play. That will not only be helpful in the ACC Tournament but also in NCAA Tournament appearances as well.

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