Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage announced today Eileen Schmidt has resigned as the Cavaliers' head softball coach.
"Eileen Schmidt has been a major part of our program as an All-American player and most recently as our head coach," Littlepage said. "I have great respect for the loyalty she has shown toward UVa and our softball program. She has recruited, mentored, and developed some outstanding student-athletes while serving as our head coach. Under coach Schmidt's direction our softball program earned its first NCAA tournament bid and won its first game in the NCAAs. She is a valued colleague and I have enjoyed working alongside of her during the past six seasons."
A native of Barto, Pa., Schmidt joined the Virginia staff in June of 2007. Her six-year record was 145-168 and included a 38-81 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. UVa has gone 1-6 in ACC Tournament play during Schmidt's tenure.
Schmidt inherited a program that went 1-20 in ACC play in 2007. In her first season, the Cavaliers upped their conference win total to six games. By 2010 UVa had improved to 13-7 in ACC play and earned its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers won their first-ever NCAA postseason game en route to a 34-23 record. This year's UVa team finished 21-28 with a 4-17 mark in ACC play.
"After a long period of soul searching and reflection, I have decided to retire from coaching," Schmidt said. "It has been an incredible journey. I am happy that I was able to lead my alma mater to its first and only appearance in the NCAA Tournament while graduating amazingly successful student-athletes. But the job is not complete. This program, alumni, and especially current team deserve new leadership and energy to finish the job. At this time I am just tired and my heart and body are telling me it is time for a break. I want to thank Craig Littlepage for his incredible support and insight throughout this process. I also want to thank all my great co-workers at Virginia.
"I love my players and this University. For me personally, I am at peace with this decision. We have some incredible recruits coming in, so the future is bright. I look forward to being a fan of the game and watching this program take the next step."
During her tenure, Schmidt had five players earn All-ACC and All-Region honors. This season senior pitcher Melanie Mitchell became the first Cavalier to record at least 200 strikeouts in four seasons. She holds school records for career wins (79), strikeouts (1,101), complete games (117), innings pitched (942), appearances (161) and starts (144). Mitchell is one of only seven pitchers in ACC history to strike out 1,000 batters during her career.
Schmidt returned to her alma mater after serving a three-year stint as head coach at Kentucky and a two-year stint at Northwestern State. Her coaching resume also includes seven years as an assistant coach at SEC schools.
Schmidt competed for Virginia from 1991-94. She was the first Cavalier softball player to earn all-ACC honors three times (1992, 1993 and 1994) and became Virginia's first All-American. A catcher, she captured third-team All-America accolades in 1994. She was named the 1993 ACC Player of the Year and was chosen to the ACC all-tournament team in 1993 and 1994. She earned her undergraduate degree in communications from Virginia in 1994.
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