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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Softball Rumors - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Rumors Swirl Around Softball


Cardinal Couple tends to avoid commenting, or covering, mere rumors, but as we start to get some confirmations we will talk about them, with the caveat that nothing official has been announced yet.  Today is one of those situations.

It appears as if Holly Aprile will be the next head coach of UofL Softball.  Aprile will be leaving Pitt after being selected as the 2018 ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to the Coastal Division title within the ACC and meeting the eventual National Champions, Florida State in the ACC Championship game.  She is also responsible for growing the program from essentially a non-entity, to advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history in 2015.

Holly has been the head coach at Pitt since 2009 after being elevated to the position after her stint as an assistant that began in 2004.  The Panthers finished last season 16-6 in ACC play, and 33-18 overall.

Prior to her time at Pitt, Aprile was an assistant coach at South Carolina for 9 years.  She brings to Louisville solid experience with ACC play, having been with Pitt since the school joined the ACC at the same time Louisville did, and her experience in the Softball powerhouse SEC conference when she was at South Carolina can only be considered a positive as well.

Aprile played ball at UMass as a pitcher and outfielder, and was selected as a first team all conference player in the A-10 all four years she played, as well as being selected A-10 player of the year twice.  Her senior year at UMass, she lead the team to the WCWS.  She was a member of the US National Softball team from 1993 to 1999.

Academically, she received her Bachelors in Sports Management from UMass, and earned a Masters in Political Science at Eastern Illinois where she was a graduate assistant coach.

All in all, I think it will be a great hire for UofL Softball to bring in a successful coach, that knows the ACC and has succeeded in it, to a school that is hungry for post-season success, and an Administration that has already demonstrated support for all sports, including Softball.

It is interesting that a tweet making the statement about Aprile did include a link to pittsburghpanthers.com. Following that link, though, revealed that the link was no longer available....producing one of those "404 - It looks like you're lost" responses. One might speculate that they are waiting for Louisville to make the official announcement, and that would make sense.

You can go to: https://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2018/07/08/report-pitt-loses-softball-coach-to-louisville/ though. They seem to think it is a done deal. We've also received confirmation from a former associate of the Softball program. We'll wait and see.

We'll offer a "Welcome to the Ville" congratulations to Holly, if, in fact, it is a reality. 

There is no word, yet, on when Aprile will be officially announced at UofL.



-- 
JMcA

22 comments:

  1. It's interesting that there is no confirmation on either side, but, as mentioned in the article, they're probably waiting until all the "t"'s are crossed and "i"'s are dotted.

    This looks like a good move for the Cards. She is a proven program-builder and winner. It also makes a statement about the moves at Pitt. The men's and women's basketball coaches have been replaced. Football has Pat Narduzzi who is 21-17 in three years. The days of Dave Wannstedt, Johnny Majors and Jackie Sherrill are over. MBB coach Jamie Dixon bolted for TCU and $$$ after 13 successful seasons. What's going on up on "The Hill"?

    I get that it's tough when you're a college in a town that has three successful professional programs. Three head A.D.'s since 2015 is also quite interesting

    Curtis "Can you name the Three Rivers?" Franklin

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  2. It isn't official until both programs acknowledge it. If it does become "official", though...another tip of the cap and slap on the back in congratulations to Vince Tyra is definitely deserved.

    Paulie

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  3. Another clue for you all. A listing of the 2019 coaching roster for Pitt just lists two assistants and no head coach. I think even Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther could figure this one out.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

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  4. Good afternoon, Cardinal Couple readers! An Internet search this morning reveals that both triblive.com and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are running stories that Holly Aprile has resigned to take the Louisville job.

    Congratulations to Holly!

    Dave-O

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    Replies
    1. Yes, a number of Pittsburgh based and focused media outlets are running with this story. We may be the first UofL based site to carry it? A few other Louisville sports media folks were posting about it on Twitter as early as last night (Howie Lindsey was the first I saw).

      Delete
  5. Holly quote:

    “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.”

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pitt now has their press release up (again). Many more sites have picked up the story and run with it.

    We, at Cardinal Couple, try to be careful about trafficking in rumors, but we had some pretty solid info on this and knew it was going to be a story today. We do our best to balance timeliness and responsibility.

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  7. Hi

    First time visitor.

    Our loss is Louisville's gain in Holly. She is a player-dedicated coach.

    I don't know what to tell you about the current state of Pittsburgh Panther athletics. We're now looking for baseball and softball coaches. We just replaced both basketball coaches. Heather Lyke, our current A.D., has been busy.

    I'm hoping for those -- Hello, my name is -- name tags on the coaches when these team take the field in 2018-19.



    UP Fan

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the visit. We appreciate the good words on Holly, and wish the Panthers luck in your various coaching searches.

      We have a number of fans of other schools that regularly meet up with the Cardinals come and visit. I think we have a nice community, here, and welcoming of our opponents fans to join in on respectful dialog and analysis. I know I certainly appreciate hearing the perspective and a little of the insider knowledge from the other side of the court/field/pitch/etc.

      I, personally, will be looking forward to the Oct. 21st matchup at Fitzgerald Field House between our volleyball squads...a rematch of last year's ACC co-champions should be a fun one.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for stopping by with the words. Welcome and don't be a stranger!

      Paulie

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  8. When athletic director Heather Lyke hires a baseball and softball coach later this summer, it will be the seventh and eighth coaching hires in her 17 months on the job. Baseball coach Joe Jordano left his program last month after 21 years.

    Dag-gone...

    Paulie

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    Replies
    1. I want to believe that our A.D. knows what she's doing but the changes seem to have been non-stop. Thanks for the welcome, Paulie and JMcA! I have been doing some back-reading here and I definitely like your guys approach to athletics!

      UP Fan

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  9. Everything I have read about Holly Aprile has been positive and her track record as a head coach is impressive. Assuming she does take over the duties at Louisville she will be a great addition and hire!

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  10. What a load of crap. Why force Sandy out to hire someone who can't make a regional. Retirement my rear. She's mid 50's. 13 regionals. Replace her with somebody with none. That really makes a lot of sense. This job is way better than this hire.

    If you are going to do that, why not hire Stanfill? Way better than the actual hire. Or maybe why dump Pearaall in the first place? Maybe it was time for her to go, but why do it if you aren't going to make a substantial upgrade?

    This is a classic... Jurich should still be there. But because of spineless bureaucrats, he's gone. And in the wake, we force out a coach with a gazillion wins and 13 regional berths and replace her with someone who has been smoked by Sandy for years and in her 1 good season can't even make it to regionals. And we dump Stanfill who is way past ready to take the reigns.

    So this group of leaders take a Final 4 basketball program and relegate them to the NIT and kick our softball team into the hands of the leader a program that couldn't make the Big East tournament or qualify for the NCAA's in the ACC. This is a sad day...

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    Replies
    1. An interesting take I suppose. But, we'll take the high road here at Cardinal Couple and hope that Holly can come in and produce some positive results. I hated to see Sandy retire, she was always a great interview and always approachable. I hated to see Tom go also, he was encouraging in the early days of Cardinal Couple.

      Life does go on, however, and we adapt, change and remain bright and positive in our outlook and hopes.

      Paulie

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    2. That's a very negative and bitter look at a new hire. I suspect either a UK poser or someone who doesn't like Tyra.

      Blue Lou

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    3. I think Kassie Stanfill would've been an excellent hire as well, and would've been thrilled to see her take the helm, but it's not to be.

      As to Pearsall's decision to depart, it's her decision and I won't second-guess it.

      As to competition with Pitt, you have to include games back to 2013, when UofL went 47-13 before you end up with a winning record against Pitt. I would suggest not selling what Aprile has done at Pitt short.

      I would also point out that *no one* in the ACC, other than the eventual national champions, FSU, made the NCAA tournament this year. As much as I would love for it to be, the ACC is just not a power conference in softball in the past few years.

      I believe Aprile is a good hire and will be good for this program. You won't find anyone in sports media that has interviewed Sandy more than I have in the past couple of years. I adore her, and she built a good program, but go back to my article of a month ago and think about the meanings of endings and beginnings. I'm now 3 weeks into my new job and I've never been happier in my professional life. Endings and beginnings happens, hopefully they work out for the best, sometimes they don't. I see very little to dislike in what Aprile did at Pitt, and think a fresh perspective will be beneficial in the UofL Softball program.

      Delete
  11. Cards have been very fortunate to land coaches Mack and Aprile , Teeter too , with all the controversy that has surrounded the program over the past few years.

    From what I gather, everything runs through the board these days and the days of one-person control of athletics, like Jurich had, are past.

    I think the Cards may have been too fast in selling themselves down the river, so to speak, with the self-inflicted punishments during the scandals.

    It is still good to see Cardinal Couple has regained their focus and it hitting the major women's sports stories. Keep up the good work.

    Nick O.

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  12. I for one am just happy to see a qualified woman hired for the position which unfortunately we are seeing less and less often in recent years for women's teams now that the pay has increased.

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  13. Well it seems every site but the Go Cards site has acknowledged that Aprile is headed to Louisville. I guess Grissom is taking a nap and no one wants to wake him up to see if he and the board will officially give their blessing for the announcement.

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    Replies
    1. I think the Board has a committee meeting on Thursday the 12th. I'd be surprised if it wasn't made official then.

      Paulie

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  14. With the impending hire, what things will the new coach need to address? Louisville not making the NCAA Tournament is #1 in my book. It also seems that Louisville had too much reliance on a "small ball" or slapper game last year. Despite at least five pitchers listed on last year's roster, pitching seemed to go away late in the year except for Hensley.

    Diamond Girl

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