The Gophers found their next head softball coach on their own staff, promoting assistant coach Piper Ritter on Sunday.
Ritter has been a Gophers assistant coach since 2008, focusing on pitchers. Five of her pitchers have been honored on All-America teams, and three were Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.
She also pitched for the Gophers and in 2003 posted 11 shutouts and 311 strikeouts, then a school record.
Many Gophers softball records trace to Ritter. She coached four of the pitchers in the Gophers’ top five in strikeouts, and she’s the fifth. She coached the top two in career victories, and she ranks third.
“The University of Minnesota has given me so much and helped shape the person I am today,” Ritter said in a statement. “… I am honored to be a Gopher, and I look forward to continue working with our amazing Minnesota student-athletes.”
Ritter replaces Jamie Trachsel, who left to become head coach at Mississippi.
“I am excited for the future of our softball program,” athletic director Mark Coyle said. “Piper has been part of our team for nearly two decades, and she is the right person for the job. She was one of the best players ever to wear the Maroon and Gold and consistently developed All-American talent as an assistant coach. Her dedication to Minnesota, meticulous work ethic and attention to detail will serve her well as she makes the transition to head coach.”
Ritter also has served as pitching coach at Northern Colorado in 2006 season and as an assistant at North St. Paul High School in 2005. After graduating from Minnesota in 2004 with a degree in kinesiology, she played and coached for one season in the Netherlands. Ritter also played one season in the National Pro Fastpitch League for the Texas Thunder, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.64 ERA.