Pitt found their new softball head coach on Monday, as they hired long-time Harvard head coach and Hall of Famer Jenny Allard.
Allard is the fourth head coach in the history of the Pitt Softball program. She spent the last 29 seasons from 1995-2023 as head coach of Harvard, where she accrued an overall record of 688-518-4 and an Ivy League record of 342-130-1. She finishes her time with the Crimson as the longest tenured and winningest head coach in Ivy League history. Allard also earned a spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2022.
Allard played a large role in making Harvard a great softball program over her tenure. She won nine Ivy League titles, posted six 30-win seasons and made eight NCAA Championship appearances. Allard also had great players over her time at Harvard, with 78 First-Team, 75 Second Team and 51 Honorable Mention All-Ivy League selections, as well as seven Ivy League Rookies of the Year, eight Ivy League Pitchers of the Year, seven Ivy League Players of the Year and three All-Americans.
Harvard excelled in Allard’s final season at the helm, accruing a record of 29-17-1 and winning the Ivy League Tournament title to earn a spot in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional.
“I am excited to be the next leader of Pitt Softball,” Allard said in a statement following her hiring. “I want to thank Heather Lyke and Jennifer Tuscano for this amazing opportunity. Pitt Athletics is on the rise, and I am ready to bring great energy and determination to the softball program. Pitt Softball has hard working student-athletes, the backing of an amazing Athletic Department and University, and support from the larger community of Pittsburgh. Vartabedian Field will be an exciting place to be in the coming years.”
Allard was born in 1968 and grew up in Irvine, Calif. She played college softball at Michigan from 1987-90, where she started out as a third baseman for her first two years then finished as a pitcher her final two seasons.
She dominated at the plate as a junior in 1989, posting a .351 batting average, hitting 65 times and29 RBIs. Allard also took control on the pitcher’s mound that season, with 19 wins to nine losses, a stellar 0.75 ERA, and posting 64 strikeouts. She earned Big Ten Player of Year honors, as well as All-American First-Team honors for her efforts.
Allard finished her career as a Wolverine with All-Big Ten honors in her four seasons, making the First Team in 1987, 1989, and 1990 and Second Team in 1988. She also made the Big Ten All-Decade team for the 1980s as well.
She moved on to coaching soon after and served as an assistant coach at Iowa for three seasons from 1992-94. Iowa made it to the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and had two 30-win seasons while Allard coached there.
Allard takes over for former Pitt Softball head coach in Jodi Hermanek, who the school dismissed following five seasons at the helm from 2019-23. Hermanek posted an overall record of 76-134 (0.36) and a 29-82 (0.26) record in the ACC and never had one winning season in her time at Pitt.
Allard is the third and final new head coach for Pitt Athletics this offseason, making it so that there is no vacant head coach positions in the Athletic department. Pitt hired UMass head coach Tory Verdi to lead their women’s basketball program, following the dismissal of head coach Lance White after five seasons from 2018-23. Pitt also hired former Missouri associate head coach Casey Jo MacPherson to take control of the gymnastics program, after they fired head coach Samantha Snider after six seasons from 2017-23.
Allard is also now the fourth women head coach in charge of a program at Pitt, joining lacrosse head coach Emily Boissoneault, diving head coach Katie Kasprzak and MacPherson.
“We are thrilled that Jenny Allard will be our next head softball coach at Pitt,” Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke said in a statement. “Not only is she an extraordinary teacher of the game, her proven championship experiences, her work ethic, persistence, confidence and passion for developing young people is evident based on her Hall of Fame career thus far. We are excited to support Coach Allard in this opportunity to build Pitt softball into an ACC and National Championship-caliber program.”
Allard will take control of the Panthers right away and will look to build this program into a contender sooner rather than later.