by UNCP Athletics Communications
PEMBROKE, N.C. – Athletics department officials at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced Tuesday morning that Brittany Bennett - who helped lead Georgia College to a spot in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game in April - has been named the school's 10th softball head coach.
Bennett treks to Pembroke from Milledgeville, Ga., where she was the top assistant on a coaching staff that led fellow league member Georgia College on a 20-1/2 game turnaround over the past two seasons. She will officially begin her new coaching duties on Aug. 8, and will also serve as a lecturer in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department.
"Brittany is a proven recruiter and winner at the Division I and II levels, including great regional familiarity from coaching stops at UNCW & Mount Olive," said UNCP director of athletics Dick Christy. "She is focused on a robust student-athlete experience and has shown through her track record that success academically and athletically can be achieved simultaneously. UNC Pembroke looks forward to what softball will accomplish under her leadership."
Having left footprints of success in each of her four stops as an assistant coach, Bennett's most recent tales of triumph came on the Georgia College staff over the last two seasons. A 15-35 club prior to her arrival in Milledgeville, the Bobcats turned in a 36-15 record last season and logged a runner-up finish in the Peach Belt Conference regular season standings, while also securing an NCAA postseason bid. Along the way, she mentored three all-region standouts, as well as a first team All-American, and was key in helping the Bobcats finish among the nation's top-25 teams in the final national poll.
"Brittany's organization and recruiting efforts helped transform our program from one that won 15 games prior to her arrival, to winning 37 this past season as Georgia College advanced to NCAA postseason play," said Georgia College director of athletics Wendell Staton. "Her efforts have been crucial for our success."
Bennett made the move to Milledgeville following a three-year stint as assistant coach at Lynn. While with the Knights, Bennett's pitching staff allowed the second-fewest hits in program history in 2009 and held opponents to their lowest batting average in four seasons. Bennett also mentored one All-American and a pair of all-region standouts.
Bennett spent one season as an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington and also served on the staff at Mount Olive for one season as well. Under her guidance, the Trojan pitching staff lowered its earned run average from 5.13 to 1.70 - 18th-best among all NCAA Division II institutions. She also helped the squad post a school-record 39 victories. In addition, sophomore Jenny Jackson was selected the Carolina-Virginia Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year after ranking seventh nationally in ERA (0.87).
She was a graduate assistant for two seasons (2005-06) at Southern Arkansas where she worked with both the hitters and pitchers. The Lady Muleriders produced the Gulf South Conference's Pitcher of the Year in 2006 after Kayla King notched 20 victories and a sub-2.60 ERA.
"I would like to thank Dick Christy and the entire athletics department for this opportunity," Bennett said. "I look forward to working with these student-athletes and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I can't wait to enhance the softball program's presence within the Peach Belt Conference, the community and the surrounding areas."
No stranger to the Division II game, Bennett was a two-year letterwinner at Southern Arkansas. A member of the Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2004, she holds the school record for fewest errors in a career with six.
A Longview, Texas, native, Bennett earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from Southern Arkansas in 2004. She received her master's degree in kinesiology from SAU in 2006.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.