JU Names Melissa Gentile Head Softball Coach

July 27, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - JU has selected Melissa Gentile as its new head coach for softball, director of athletics Alan Verlander announced today. Gentile, who served as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for the past two seasons, will become the second Dolphin coach since the program's inaugural season in 2003.

"I am extremely honored to be a part of the excitement surrounding JU athletics," said Gentile. "I'm looking forward to reaching even greater heights with the softball program and ultimately winning an Atlantic Sun Championship."

Gentile, who also served as recruiting coordinator at Eastern Michigan, helped lead the Eagles to their first MAC Tournament appearance since 1999 after posting an 11-12 conference record in 2004. The Eagles also excelled in the classroom by earning National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Team GPA honors after ranking first in the nation with a 3.552 GPA. In her first season, she improved the Eagles' batting average from last in the conference (.199) to sixth overall (.241) and had two players (Deanna Wisnieski & Nikki Denman) rank among conference leaders in every offensive category. Prior to coaching at Eastern Michigan, she spent one year as the Director of Softball Operations for the Michigan Sports Academy. A native of O'Fallon, Mo., Gentile recently served as the director and lead instructor for the first softball camps run in conjunction with the Ripken Baseball Academy.

"I was very impressed with Melissa from the beginning," Verlander said. "She has shown great enthusiasm about her opportunity here at JU, and we are lucky to get someone of her caliber and background. We are proud to welcome her into the Dolphin family."

Gentile began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Central Michigan University from 2000-02, where she was served as the recruiting coordinator, camp director and also handled fundraising. In three years with the Chippewas, she helped lead the squad to a pair of MAC regular season and tournament championships and two NCAA regional appearances. Central Michigan also had 12 All-MAC selections and five players earned NFCA All-Great Lakes Regional honors.

In her playing career, Gentile was a four-year letterwinner for the University of Michigan and finished her tenure as the career (28) and single-season (13) home run record holder, which was held until 2004. A co-captain in 2000, she earned All-Big Ten, All-Region and All-America honors in 1998 and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1997. Gentile participated in two Women's College World Series at Michigan, placing fifth in both 1997 and 1998 and was named to the Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team in 1997. Along with the Big Ten Freshmen of the Year honor, Gentile earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades in 1997 as well as first-team All-Big Ten and All-region accolades as a sophomore.

Gentile also went on to play with the USA Women's National Team from 1996-2000 and was a member of the USA Pan-American Team in 1997 before graduating from Michigan in 1999 with a B.A. in sports management and communication. She continued her playing career in the Women's Professional Softball League (now the National Pro Fastpitch League) after being drafted by the Akron Racers in 2000.