Hall of Fame Softball Coach Joyce Compton Announces Retirement
April 19, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Head Softball Coach Joyce Compton announced that she will retire at the end of the 2010 season, the 24th in her storied career at the Palmetto State's flagship university.
"I have been fortunate to have had the pleasure to coach so many great players but more importantly great people in my 24 years as a Gamecock," Compton said. "My success is only because of these players, and I want to thank them. I take with me many great memories, and I will always treasure the friends that I have made not just here but throughout the softball community."
Compton has won 951 games at the helm of the Gamecock softball program against 479 defeats and three ties. A 2002 inductee into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, she is one of nine coaches to win at least 950 games at one NCAA Division I school. She's the winningest coach in any sport at South Carolina, topping June Raines' 763 victories in baseball.
"Joyce has been a staple in the South Carolina Athletics Department for nearly a quarter of a century," South Carolina Director of Athletics Eric Hyman said. "A Hall of Fame coach, her career numbers speak for themselves. One of the top 10 coaches in the history of college softball and the winningest coach this school has ever known, Joyce is well-known and highly respected by her peers and throughout the softball circuit. We wish her the all the best in her retirement."
With an NCAA Division I record of 1,066-556-3, Compton ranks 10th among all NCAA softball coaches regardless of division and ninth in Division I history. In four years at Missouri, she went to the Women's College World Series once while claiming the Tigers' first Big 8 title.
"Joyce Compton has been one of the leaders in our sport for the past 30 years," said Jay Miller, head coach at Mississippi State and the current U.S. National Softball Team head coach. "For me personally, I've known her and worked with her for a number of years. She has been a big influence on me with the way I coach and the way I run our program. It's sad to see a day like today come, but she has had a wonderful career and has been great for the game of softball, especially softball in the SEC. She will definitely be missed."
Coach Compton has taken the Gamecocks to 13 NCAA regional appearances, four regional titles, one super regional appearance and two Women's College World Series. The Gamecocks have won the SEC East four times under her watch, the SEC Tournament twice and claimed the inaugural SEC Championship in 1997.
"Joyce Compton has had a long and distinguished legacy in our sport," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "We should all be cognizant of her contribution as a player and a coach to the game of softball. A pioneer of the game, no one should forget how she fought to keep South Carolina softball when other schools were dropping the sport. She has been my longest and dearest friend in the coaching profession. Our sport and I will miss seeing Joyce at the ballpark."
A New Jersey native, Compton began her coaching career at Mattatuck Community College, going 93-19 in seven seasons there. She earned coach of the year accolades five times. In 35 years as a head coach, Compton has compiled a record of 1,159-575-3.
"Not only has Coach Compton had a major impact on SEC softball, she has also been such a big influence in my life," said Mississippi assistant coach and former Gameock All-America pitcher Megan Matthews Buning. "Coach has played a major role in shaping the type of person, player, and coach that I am today. Not only was she able to pull the best out of me on the field, but she also taught me the value of hard work, perseverance and discipline. Those are lessons that stay with me every day. I am honored to have played for her at South Carolina. She will be greatly missed in the softball community."
The matriarch of SEC softball, Compton has twice been named the SEC Coach of the Year, while she's earned five Region Coach of the Year awards at South Carolina. Her teams have done well in the classroom as well, with 128 SEC Academic Honor Roll selections coming since 1997.
"Joyce gave SEC softball instant credibility when the league started playing back in 1997," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It would have been a much tougher beginning without her in the league. She brought a powerhouse team to an eventual powerhouse league, and all of us now are very grateful to her and her great career. Joyce has been a very good friend and mentor during my 12 years at Bama, and I will certainly miss her."
Compton has coached 12 players to 15 All-SEC selections, 28 student-athletes to 60 all-region certificates and 11 individuals to 21 NFCA All-America plaques. One player won the Honda Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in softball. Twice, Compton has coached the SEC Player of the Year, while she's mentored the SEC Female Athlete of the Year once. Some national marks her players have set still stand today. Tricia Popowski set the NCAA Division I record for triples in her career at Carolina under Compton, while Trinity Johnson holds the nation's record with 12 consecutive shutouts.
South Carolina hosts Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesday in Joyce Compton's final home game.