FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2006
Gentile resigns as softball head coach; Assistant Amanda Lehotak promoted to head spot

June 30, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- - Melissa Gentile resigned as JU head softball coach and assistant coach Amanda Lehotak has been promoted to head coach of the JU softball program. This was announced today by JU director of athletics Alan Verlander.

Gentile leaves JU after just one season as the Dolphins had a 22-37 record, going 6-14 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. She is leaving JU to pursue an opportunity with the Fastpitch Learning Academy in Clearwater, Fla.

"This was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but it's a once in a lifetime business opportunity that I just couldn't pass up," said Gentile. "It was a hard decision that made easier knowing that Amanda would continue the vision that we shared for this program. There is no end to the potential of the JU softball program and I look forward to watching it grow rapidly in the next few years. I really want to thank Alan and the administration who have been nothing but supportive in giving us the tools to take this program to the next level."

Lehotak is third head coach in the JU softball program's history and takes over after spending the past year as the top assistant to Gentile.

"While we hate to see Melissa go, we wish her well in her future endeavors," said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. "We have the potential to build a top-rated softball program at JU and Melissa helped lay the groundwork for that. Amanda knows the student-athletes in our program and I feel confident in her ability to continue the groundwork and win consistently." Lehotak came to JU after helping Missouri Western State College to a 48-20 overall record and a spot in the Division II North Central Regional as an assistant coach in 2005.

"I am excited about the opportunity to take over the program here at JU and continue to build off of this past year," Lehotak said. "This program has a lot of potential and I look forward to continuing what we started this past season."

Prior to Missouri Western, Lehotak served as the interim assistant coach at College of St. Mary (Neb.) where she helped lead the Flames to a No. 12 NAIA national ranking, a Region IV title and a Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament crown in 2004. Individually, first baseman Danielle Workman earned NAIA All-America honors.

She began her coaching career as an assistant coach at her alma mater Daniel J. Gross High School (Neb.) in 2003, where she managed hitting and outfield instruction and was in charge of fundraising. Individually, eight of her players were selected to the all-state team.

In her playing career, Lehotak was a two-year starter as a utility player at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 2002-03 and led the Mavericks to an 84-22 overall record. As a senior, she earned third team National Fastpitch Collegiate Softball All-America, all-region and first team North Central Conference accolades after leading the squad with 49 runs scored and four triples. As a junior, she earned all-region and first team all-NCC honors after leading the Mavericks with 42 runs, 67 hits and 19 doubles. She also received NCC All-Academic accolades in 2003. Prior to Nebraska-Omaha, Lehotak was a two-year starter as an infielder at the University of Mississippi from 2000-01. As a freshman, she led Ole Miss with a .286 batting average and a program-record 62 hits. As a sophomore, she finished the year with a .222 average, 35 hits and a team-high 21 runs scored.

Lehotak earned her bachelor's degree in family science with a minor in psychology at Nebraska-Omaha in 2003.