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Aug. 9, 2010

by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina softball head coach Beverly Smith hired her first assistant coach today, and it’s someone with whom she is very familiar. Janelle Breneman will follow Smith from North Carolina to Columbia.

“I am thrilled for our softball program to have a coach with Janelle’s exceptional playing and coaching experience join the staff,” said Smith. “After working with her for the past six seasons, I have seen firsthand the individual improvement of players under her direction. Janelle is a consummate professional. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a competitive drive to the field everyday, while her personality and disposition make it a pleasure to work with and play for her. I am eager to introduce Coach Breneman to the Gamecock softball players and community.”

“I am very excited about the opportunity to coach at the University of South Carolina,” Breneman commented. “I welcome the challenge in restoring the winning tradition of the softball program. I have the upmost respect for Beverly, and I am confident this program, under her leadership, will progress in a positive direction.”

Breneman directed the Tar Heel offense for the past six years, a period during which the team went to the NCAA Tournament every season while winning 40 or more games during her final five seasons on staff. Her squads have ranked in the top 100 in the country in home runs per at bat the past three seasons. She helped Danielle Spaulding become a three-time All-American, as Spaulding ranked among the nation’s leaders in home runs in 2009 and 2010. Her work with the Tar Heel infielders helped North Carolina’s defense to a top-25 rank in fielding percentage each year since 2007. In three of the last four seasons, UNC’s fielding percentage topped the Atlantic Coast Conference. In total, Breneman had a hand in eight student-athletes earning 14 All-ACC honors.

Before working at Chapel Hill, Breneman spent four seasons as the head coach at Bucknell. She led the Bison to the Patriot League tournament for the first time in four years during the 2004 season, while she was named the league’s Coach of the Year. Breneman got her head coaching start at East Stroudsburg University, working for five years at the helm of the Warriors program.

As a player, Breneman excelled as a shortstop at Bloomsburg University, earning All-America honors once and All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference first-team accolades three times. A four-year letterwinner under legendary head coach Jan Hutchinson, she still holds the Huskies record with 351 career assists. Bloomsburg made the NCAA Tournament all four years, finishing second in Division II in 1991 and third in 1990 and 1992. Breneman was inducted into the Bloomsburg University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. After graduating in 1994 with a degree in adult health/cardiac rehab, she played for two years in the Women’s Pro Softball League for the Georgia Pride.

Breneman also has been inducted into the Ephrata High School Hall of Fame in 2001.

The coordinator of camps and clinics for North Carolina, Breneman and her Tar Heel players also worked at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA YES Softball Clinics in conjunction with the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.