UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State University softball coach Robin Petrini resigned Friday, ending a 17-year tenure leading the program.
Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said in a university release that a national search for Petrini’s successor will begin immediately.
Petrini, a Utah State graduate, took over the program in 1997 and compiled a 489-437-2 record, the most wins of any coach in 48-year history of the program. Her record in the Big Ten is 144-195-1. The past two seasons have been among the worst in Petrini’s tenure. The Nittany Lions were 16-34 this spring, finishing 11th in the 12-team conference. That followed an 18-32 campaign in 2012.
Under Petrini, the Nittany Lions had 11 winning seasons, nine of which had 30 or more wins. Petrini’s best season was 39-17 in 2006.
“I am very appreciative of Robin’s contributions to the softball program and Penn State,” Joyner said in the release. “Robin has developed her softball student-athletes as exemplary representatives of Penn State. We thank her for 17 years of loyal service to Penn State University and wish her all the best.”
The Nittany Lions made eight NCAA Tournament appearances under Petrini with a 10-14 mark in those games. Penn State was unable to get out of the first round of regionals in any of those appearances. Penn State, which had a run of seven straight appearances under Petrini, has missed the NCAA Tournament in five of the past six seasons.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have coached at Penn State,” said Petrini in a university release. “I would like to thank all of the wonderful student-athletes I have coached over the years, as well as (associate head coach) Jen McIntyre and assistants who have contributed so much to the success of the Penn State softball program.”
Petrini’s teams played three seasons at Nittany Lion Softball Park, a redesign of the program’s facilities that she helped spearhead. Beard Field hosted an NCAA Regional in 2011 and is the current host of the PIAA Softball Championships.
“I am especially grateful to Bill and Lee Beard and all our loyal donors for their roles in taking Nittany Lion Softball Park from a dream to reality,” Petrini said. “I am very proud of my role in helping to produce one of the best softball facilities in the nation. ... Through the years I have been blessed with a fantastic grounds crew, support staff, booster club and fans.”
Petrini’s resignation comes prior to the summer club season, the critical recruiting period for college coaches. Petrini announced a class of four incoming recruits for the fall of 2013 in December.
McIntyre, a former Penn State player, had served under Petrini 12 seasons. Petrini’s other assistant coach Lisa Banse, a 2006 Iowa grad, just completed her third season with the program.